US, Iraqis helping to train Sunni fighters against IS

Iraqi Sunni volunteers stand in line at the Al-Asad air base in Anbar province on November 11, 2014, before they begin training by Iraqi forces to fight against Islamic State groupUS forces and their Iraqi counterparts have trained about 2,000 Sunni fighters in Iraq as part of efforts to defeat the Islamic State extremist group, a senior US official said Tuesday. Iraq’s Shiite-led government, trying to reverse the marginalisation of Sunnis, is seeking to form a “bridging entity” where Sunnis tribesmen defend their provinces before they are brought into an Iraqi national force, the State Department official told reporters on condition of anonymity. The official disclosed the information as US Secretary of State John Kerry prepared Wednesday to host talks in Brussels with foreign ministers from scores of countries that are trying to help defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The official said the training was occurring at Al-Asad air base in Anbar province and elsewhere.

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