Pentagon says 2,200 identified for train-equip program
In one month, Pentagon has added 1,000 names to the list of Syrian opposition fighters to be vetted for program
About 2,200 individuals have been identified to be vetted for a train-equip program to help Syrian opposition fighters in the campaign against Daesh, the U.S. said Friday.
The Pentagon said in February that it had identified 1,200 opposition fighters to be vetted. The U.S. has added 1,000 in one months time.
Commander of the American Special Operations Forces in the Middle East, Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, and his team, have been working to select and screen members of moderate Syrian opposition groups for the program.
The effort to train Syrian opposition groups is part of an overall campaign to defeat Daesh militants who have seized large swaths of Syria and Iraq since last year June.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey agreed to help opposition groups not only fight Daesh but to also battle the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
While the agreement with Saudi Arabia and Qataris is still being worked out, the U.S. and Turkey signed an agreement Feb. 17 on the program in which up to 1,000 U.S. troops will take particiape in the training.
According to the Pentagon, several hundred U.S. troops will take part in the training. The remainder will be deployed as force protection, intelligence support and enablers.