Some US allies show willingness to send troops to Syria in order to train opposition forces

US Army General Ray Odierno tells Senate allies may send support and resources to help in fight against the Islamic State in Syria.

March 19, 2015 11:41
2 minute read.
islamic state

An Islamic State fighter carries the group’s flag in Raqqa, north-central Syria.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

WASHINGTON - Some U.S. allies in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria may be willing to send troops to accompany and support the Syrian opposition force the coalition is planning to train and send back to Syria, Army General Ray Odierno said on Wednesday.

Odierno, the U.S. Army chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee the military was aware the Syrian opposition force would need help and support once it returned home and was studying how best to provide that assistance.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Asked whether forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might immediately try to wipe out the coalition-trained opposition, Odierno said the allies would be cautious about where the troops were inserted and what operations they initially undertook.

"As we look at employing those forces once they're trained, I think we've got to be very careful about how we do that," Odierno said. "I think we would work with ... some of our allies that might be able to put some people in there with them."

"We'd be very careful in where we place them and what their initial missions would be as they continue to develop capability," he added. "I also believe there would be some enabler support that would be necessary in order to help them."

Odierno did not specify what type of enablers might be necessary. The word is often used to refer to troops who do intelligence or surveillance, medical evacuation, communications and other jobs that support combat operations.

The Army chief said that since the purpose of the opposition force was to confront Islamic State militants, the allies would make an effort initially to place it in a location where it was not likely to come under attack from Assad's military.

The U.S. military last month began vetting Syrian opposition members to identify candidates to receive military training at camps being set up in up to four countries across the region.

The allies have identified about 2,000 Syrian opposition candidates for the training so far, a Pentagon spokeswoman said.

About 400 have progressed through the first stage of vetting, which involves compiling biographical data. The final stage is a full biometric screening, she said. The full vetting process takes about six weeks.

Coalition partners hope to train 5,000 to 5,500 Syrian opposition members per year, beginning small with about 200 to 300 trainees per group.

Related Content

August 14, 2018
BDS claims victory in Tunisia, forcing ‘Israel-linked ship’ from port