US to send more than 400 troops to train Syrian rebels

Last Updated Jan 16, 2015 3:31 AM EST

(WASHINGTON) — The United States will send 400 troops to train moderate Syrian rebels this spring along with hundreds of support personnel.

Pentagon spokesperson Maj. James Brindle confirmed the planned deployment to CBS News early Friday morning.

The plan was first reported by Defense One on Thursday.

Last month, President Obama signed into law a massive defense policy bill that endorsed his plan to fight militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including air strikes and training Iraqis and moderate Syrian rebels.

The law authorized the training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels battling the extremists for two years, and provided $5 billion to train Iraqis battling the militants who brutally rule large sections of the two countries.

The Reuters news agency, citing Pentagon spokesperson Col. Steve Warren, reports that the mission is expected to begin this spring at sites outside Syria. The Pentagon hasn’t specified where the troops will be drawn from.

Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have offered to host the training, Reuters points out.

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