US-Turkish train-equip programme sends 54 fighters to Syria

US-Turkish ‘train-equip’ programme sends group of 54 fighters from Syrian opposition groups in Syria to fight against ISIS after they have been trained in Turkey

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Al Jazeera Turk has reported that the US-Turkish “train-equip” programme sent a group of 54 fighters from Syrian opposition groups receiving training in the country back to Syria in order to fight against ISIS after the US military has trained them for 74 days in Turkey.

The reports stated that the fighters entered Syria on July 12 through the Turkish Oncupinar border crossing of Kilis which is located across the northern Syrian district of Azez in the province of Aleppo. The fighters are stationed around an area called Malikiye located west of Azez.

The fighters are ready to fight in Savran front located north of the Aleppo countryside where Syrian opposition groups are currently clashing with ISIS forces.

The fighters are part of the 30th Division which is established by US government against ISIS and has given training to 154 fighters until now.

A hundred opposition fighters have already passed into Syria about three weeks ago after they have taken their military training in a Jordanian camp for 54 days.

The US military has armed the fighters with light infantry rifles and a huge amount of ammunition. The fighters have also been equipped with 30 pickup trucks, and medium range weapons including DShK, BKS.

It is expected that opposition fighters will be supported with heavy bombardments by the US-led coalition forces against ISIS targets after their engagement with the militant group starts.

The 30th Division is composed of nine opposition groups from the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The commander of the division is Colonel Nedim Hassan who defected from the Syrian army of Bashar al Assad and he is ethnically Turkmen. His deputy is Colonel Sahir Mustafa who is also a Syrian pilot.  

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced in early May that the “train-equip” programme for moderate Syrian opposition will begin on May 9. However, he later stated that this date was delayed due to “technical difficulties” experienced rather than a disagreement with the US government.

Turkey and the US had signed an agreement to train moderate oppositions against the Assad regime in Syria on Feb. 17.

TRTWorld and agencies