US and Turkey Sign Deal to Arm & Train Syrian Rebels

SM Gibson
February 19, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) According to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, the United States and Turkey signed an agreement on Thursday to train and arm Syrian rebels.

The two nations have been in discussions over the past several months in hopes of reaching a consensus regarding the terms of the deal. U.S. Ambassador John Bass and Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu signed the pact Thursday evening, according to an Embassy spokesperson.

Turkish officials have said that the training could begin as soon as next month at a military base located in the central Anatolian city of Kirsehir. The training, which will involve both Turkish and U.S. soldiers, will be responsible for instructing and equipping hundreds of Syrian rebels in the first year alone. The United States has stated that their aim is to combat the Islamic State, while Turkey has hinted that the freshly trained rebels could be used to target President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government.

The U.S. military also announced this week their plans to allow Syrian rebels to call for limited U.S. led airstrikes in the region. Syrian rebels also began covertly training in Jordan – under the instruction of the United States – in March of 2013.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon said that they have identified and recruited about 1,200 Syrian rebels to participate in U.S. led campaigns and programs.

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