Msallam Abd Albaset
The moderate Syrian opposition that will be trained and equipped by the United States and its allies to fight the Islamic State (IS) may also fight the Syrian military
WASHINGTON, January 6 (Sputnik) — The moderate Syrian opposition that will be trained and equipped by the United States and its allies to fight the Islamic State (IS) may also fight the Syrian military, the US State Department spokesperson said.
“We certainly expect that the moderate opposition may use their training and equipment to continue to fight against the Assad regime,” Jen Psaki said at a press briefing Monday, noting that the main goal of the program is to fight IS.
The United States and its allies plan to train and equip some 5,000 Syrian opposition fighters as part of their efforts to battle the Islamic State. The State Department said final negotiations to base the train and equip program in Turkey are proceeding. According to the Pentagon, the program could graduate its first group of armed rebels in March of 2016.
IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni jihadist group that has taken over large portions of Syria and Iraq.
The United States is currently carrying out a multi-pronged strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” IS, which also includes a coalition air campaign and diplomatic efforts to politically and economically cut off the group. The US-led coalition began carrying out air-strikes against IS targets in Iraq in August, expanding the air campaign to Syria in September without the Syrian government’s approval. Syrian forces are also carrying out air-strikes, as well as ground offensives against the militants.