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Report: U.S training Syrian rebels

March 11, 2013 at 5:05 AM   |   Comments

AMMAN, Jordan, March 11 (UPI) -- Foreign countries, including the United States, are secretly training Syrian rebels in Jordan, the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported.

The report Sunday said Americans have been training Syrian anti-government fighters in Jordan for three months. It said it is unclear whether they work for private firms or for the U.S. Army because not all wore military uniforms.

The British newspaper The Guardian on Friday quoted Jordanian security sources as saying British and French instructors are involved in the U.S.-led mission. The British Ministry of Defense denied U.K. soldiers were providing direct military training to rebels, but the newspaper said a small number of personnel, including Special Forces teams, have been training the Jordanian military.

Unnamed participants and organizers of the program told Der Spiegel about 200 people have undergone training, mainly in the use of anti-tank weapons. The aim is to train 10,000 fighters, the weekly said.

Jordanian intelligence personnel are cooperating in the program to prevent Salafists in Jordan from going to Syria and returning to cause unrest, the weekly said quoting one of the organizers.

The Jordanian government had yet to respond to the report.

A U.S. Department of State fact sheet published March 4 said the United States is acting with the international community to assist the Syrian Opposition Coalition and plans to provide an additional $60 million to help communities expand the delivery of goods and essential services, bringing the total amount of monetary assistance to the Syrian opposition to $115 million. Some of the assistance will be used to extend the rule of law and enhance stability, the fact sheet said.

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