Commander Says 1,000 FSA Fighters Trained by U.S. in Saudi Arabia

The first batch of FSA fighters is to enter Syria from the Turkish border

About 1,000 Syrian rebel fighters have completed training in Saudi Arabia since the Kingdom agreed last September to host training camps for moderate rebels as part of United States' broad strategy to combat Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, a senior Free Syrian Army commander told Zaman al-Wasl.


Lieutenant Colonel Khaled al-Hammoud, one of the trainers, said the first batch of FSA fighters is to enter Syria from the Turkish border to carry on their mission in fighting ISIS militants as part of a U.S.-Turkish agreement. He declined to specify when the deployment of FSA fighters would begin.


According to Hammoud, the primary plan by FSA is to storm ISIS strongholds north and east Syria, "the battle will be covered U.S.-led coalition's airstrikes as FSA army carrying on the ground attack," he added.


The FSA training agreement was outlined by Obama who wanted to expand the campaign against the Islamist group, in time Saudi has reflected concern about ISIS's threat to the region, according to Reuters.


The Obama administration wanted the Syrian rebels to play a role in the fight against the stronger ISIS forces inside Syria.


The commander said clearly that rebels had no choice but to ally with United States which vowed to beef up support for moderate rebels to overthrow Bashar al-Assad.


Hammoud revealed the training is now at a limited range, adding that "we are planning to have training camps in the Syrian north and to increase the number of trainees to 10,000 fighters, 5,000 of equipped and well-trained fighters and the other half to be reserve soldiers."


The former Syrian Army officer said the newly-trained units were formed from all rebel groups in Syria, assuring that rebel factions, including Ahrar al-Sham movement, can nominate fighters for the following training.


Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer


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