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US trains Syrian rebels to take on Islamic State

A rebel fighter holds a position in al-Mayasat, a rebel-controlled area near the industrial zone of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on February 4, 2015The US military has begun training a small unit of “moderate” Syrian rebels in Jordan to return home and take on the might of the Islamic State, after months of intense vetting. The long-delayed basic military training could eventually extend to similar programs in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, a US official said, and the rebels could be backed by American air support if required. “There are about 90 of the trainees in this company-sized unit,” US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters at the Pentagon. The United States and its allies launched air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq in August last year and in Syria in September.

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