U.S. soldiers arrive in Turkey for training Syrian rebels

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Some 40 U.S. soldiers have arrived in Turkey to start training Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria, daily Hurriyet reported on Thursday.

The U.S. soldiers, all members of the Special Forces, will join their Turkish colleagues to train Syrian rebels in a military base in the central Anatolian province of Kirsehir, the paper said, citing unidentified sources.

The paper said training will start in 10 days and that the rebels will be trained in groups of 400.

Ankara and Washington signed an agreement in February to train some 2,000 members of the Free Syrian Army in one year, and 5,000 fighters in three years inside Turkey.

Turkey has been criticized for being reluctant to take robust measures and declined to be a fully-fledged part of the anti-IS coalition unless Washington agrees to adopt an "integrated strategy" that also aims to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

Turkey, once an ally of Assad, is now the fierce opponent of the Syrian government and has been supporting the opposition trying to topple him since 2011. Endit

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