SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)
Britain is planning to contribute substantially to the US-led effort training the Syrian moderate armed opposition to fight the Islamic State (IS), the UK Foreign Secretary announced Thursday.
“The UK government expects to make a significant contribution to the US-led programme to train the Syrian moderate armed opposition, who are fighting both Assad’s tyranny and ISIL’s extremism. Details of how that contribution will be delivered are currently being scoped,” Philip Hammond said in a statement in the House of Commons.
“Working closely with our allies, under a US lead, we have a clear strategy to take the fight to ISIL. A strategy with military, political and wider counter-terrorism components,” Hammond added.
According to the foreign secretary, Britain’s support to the moderate opposition will include technical assistance and non-lethal equipment.
The United States is currently leading the program to train Syrian opposition to fight the IS, as the strategy announced by the US President Barack Obama implies the aid toKurdish fighters and “moderate” Syrian opposition. A US-led coalition set up in September and comprising more than 60 countries is carrying out airstrikes on the IS targets in Syria and Iraq.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the extremist group expanded its attacks to northern and western Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control. Some 200,000 refugees have crossed into Turkey to flee the IS threat.