Damascus, Syria – The U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reportedly ordered a group of 100 American military experts to head to the Middle East next week to establish locations for training Syrian opposition fighters to combat extremists Islamic State (IS/ISIL) and the Assad regime, the Pentagon revealed on Friday.
The Pentagon press secretary admiral John Kirby said special operations forces were authorized last week and will arrive to Syria’s neighboring areas in the coming days, “with a subsequent wave of several hundred military trainers following in the weeks thereafter”.
So far, the United States has been focusing on supporting Iraqi troops within the framework of combatting terrorism of IS, and intensifying airstrikes in northern Syria to prevent the fall of the Kurdish city of Kobane to the hands of the IS group.
“Kurdish forces now control about 70 percent of Kobane,” Kirby said.
“The advanced element of U.S. forces headed to establish training sites amounted to fewer than 100 troops. They’re going to take a look at what’s there and prepare for further deployments.”
The Pentagon is reportedly planning to send more than 400 troops for the training mission and several hundred support forces for a total of about 1,000 or more, Reuters reported.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi
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