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Iran Press TV

Pentagon: New militants start training to fight in Syria, Iraq

Iran Press TV

Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:6AM

The Pentagon has begun training a new group of the so-called moderate militants to fight ISIL Takfiri terrorists in Syria and Iraq, a US military official says.

'We do have a second class that has started, but I don't have any additional details to provide at this time,' US Central Command spokesman Col. Pat Ryder told reporters on Friday.

'I'm not going to provide any numbers today,' he said, citing 'operational security.'

'I'm not going to talk about where they may or may not be in terms of the status of those forces at this point in time,' he added.

The ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Earlier this month, the US military announced it would send its first batch of trained militants into Syria in the next several weeks to fight ISIL.

The announcement was made as American and allied forces were finishing the training of the first group of so-called "moderate" militants in Turkey.

Also, Defense Secretary Ash Carter had said the administration planned to train 3,000 by the end of the year.

The program was approved last September and a received funding of $500 million in December by Congress, that envisioned training 5,000 per year and 15,000 over three years.

Ryder said that 'the number of recruits will increase as the coalition learns how to better streamline its processes.

'We think that success will breed success. We think that this program will continue to increase the numbers,' he added.

He also noted that some of the fighters will fight against the government of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Analysts say many of the US-trained militants could eventually find themselves on the side of the ISIL Takfiris against a common enemy on the ground – the Syrian government forces.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. The United States and its regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

According to the United Nations, more than 230,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria for more than four years.

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