March 31, 2015 / 9:54 AM / 3 years ago

U.S.-led training for Syrian rebels to start in May: Turkish minister

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A U.S.-led program to train Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State militants will start in May, Turkey’s Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency on Tuesday.

Turkey's Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz speaks during a debate on a motion which would allow the government to authorise cross-border military incursions against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, and allow coalition forces to use Turkish territory, in Ankara October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

U.S. officials have said they plan to train about 5,000 Syrian fighters a year for three years as part of a campaign against Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria.

Details on the training - due to take place in Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia - have been scant, although it had previously been planned to start this month.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday that the program had been delayed by Washington, but described the delay as minor and said that in technical and political terms, everything was otherwise on track.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Nick Tattersall and John Stonestreet

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