US military aid to Syrian opposition to fight Assad
The U.S.-led train and equip program to the Syrian opposition will help in the fight against Assad regime

The training and equipment the U.S. provides to moderate Syrian opposition forces will be used to combat ISIL and also the regime of Bashar al-Assad, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Friday.

"We've been clear that this train and equip program is not just about fighting ISIL," said Jen Psaki. "They may use it, and I certainly, I expect, will use it to fight the Assad regime," said added, noting that the immediate threat is ISIL.

Responding to a question of whether the U.S.-led coalition coordinates its military actions with the moderate opposition, Psaki said that while there has been close contact between the two, the coalition didn’t necessarily need to organize with the Syrian opposition to hit targets.

She was also asked about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks that the Assad regime should be toppled.

Psaki responded by saying that part of the coalition's effort is to strengthen the military and political credibility of the opposition in order for it to have an engagement through a political process. However, she noted that the focus of the U.S. is not on toppling Assad but rather "a political solution to bring about a change in Syria and the leadership there."

Meanwhile the number of coalition partners is growing.

Following several Arab nations, France, UK, and the Netherlands also decided to conduct airstrikes on ISIL in Iraq.

The U.S. welcomed the decision by the Netherlands to send up to eight F-16 fighters and 250 support personnel to conduct airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq.

The White House says the Netherlands will also dispatch up to 130 military personnel to assist in training Iraqi Security Forces.

This military contribution is in addition to actions the Dutch government has already taken, including providing humanitarian assistance and actions to counter the illicit financing of terrorism.


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Last Modified: 2014-10-04 07:05:40
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