U.S. soldiers arrive in Turkey to train Syrian rebels
Turkey’s İncirlik Airbase will host 83 U.S. soldiers and 40 others will be transferred to the Hirfanlı base to train Syrian rebels
About 123 U.S. soldiers arrived in Turkey to train moderate Syrian rebels, bringing with them weapons which are being transferred to İncirlik Airbase in the southern province of Adana, Hurriyet Daily News reported Friday.
The daily said 83 of the U.S. soldiers were deployed at İncirlik Airbase and 40 others were transferred to the Hirfanlı base in the Central Anatolian province of Kırşehir.
Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said that Syrians who will be trained at Hirfanlı are expected to be transferred to the southern province of Hatay where they will briefed on the use of arms, including anti-tank weapons, infantry rifles and machine guns, before travelling to Syria to join the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
At İncirlik, a special group of U.S. personnel has also been tasked with equipping Syrians.
The U.S. was able to use Incirlik after intense negotiations between Ankara and Washington.
Turkey was long criticized for being reluctant to allow combat operations against ISIS to be staged from Turkish territory.