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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

US, Arab states train Syria militants: Top opposition cmdr.

Iran Press TV

Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:3PM GMT

A senior Syrian opposition leader has revealed yet another chapter of the role of the United States and Arab states in fueling flames of armed violence in Syria.

According to reports on Sunday, the unnamed commander from the so-called Free Syrian Army says the US and Saudi Arabia have been training Syrian militants from the beginning of the unrest in Syria back in 2011.

The commander further noted that the training has been centered on Saudi soil. Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby had earlier announced a joint military group with Saudi Arabia.

"We think that, now that we've got a partner in the region to help us with the training, is that we could train more than 5,000 fighters over the course of one year," Kirby said in September. "Now, that would be in phases. It would not be all at once. The training itself would not take a full year, but we think that we could get more than 5,000 done in one year."

Kirby said the unit aims to establish military bases for training anti-Damascus forces in Jordan and other Arab states.

The agreement by Saudi Arabia reportedly came after US President Barack Obama had a telephone conversation with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.

He also indicated that Washington picks militants from several Syrian provinces and trains them with the help of the so-called Free Syrian Army.

In 2012, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) trained militants at a secret base in Jordan to fight the Syrian government. Many of those militants later joined the ISIL, according to media reports.

The US and Saudi Arabia have been strong supporters of the militancy in the region through funding and supporting militant groups, reports say.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. More than 200,000 people have been killed in over three years of fighting in the war-ravaged country, says the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).


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