U.S. troops will be sent to the Middle East to train Syrian opposition rebels as part of the wider fight against ISIS militants, the Pentagon said Friday.
The first 300 American forces will be deployed to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, defense officials said. The U.S. is negotiating with a fourth country in the region to provide facilities for the training, which would begin in March or April. Another 100 U.S. forces will be deployed.
The aim is to train, equip and arm as many as 5,400 rebel fighters who would return to Syria to take on ISIS and ultimately form a viable rebel force against the regime of Syria’s President Bashar Assad.
Pentagon spokesman Maj. James Brindle confirmed the planned deployment early Friday.
The move is part of President Barack Obama's plan to fight ISIS on the ground while also using targeted U.S.-led airstrikes.
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