Training Syrian rebels to take months, says White House

Training and equipping moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State extremists will take months, the White House warned Friday a day after Congress approved the plan.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 20, 2014, 01:17 AM IST

Washington: Training and equipping moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State extremists will take months, the White House warned Friday a day after Congress approved the plan.

"We will move out as rapidly as can be done, in partnership with the countries that will host the training facilities," said Susan Rice, national security advisor to President Barack Obama.

"This will be a process that takes months," she said, adding it will not "happen overnight."

"This is a serious training program, and we are serious about vetting those that we will be training and equipping," Rice emphasized.

"It is not something that one should expect will yield rapid and immediate fruit," she said, though she did not giving a specific timeline.

The plan adopted Thursday by US Congress envisions equipping and training moderate Syrian rebels to take on the ground offensive against the IS group in Syria.

Obama has vowed he will not deploy US troops on the ground in the fight against the militants, either in Iraq or Syria.

The plan, however, does not give free rein to Obama -- it requires the administration to submit a progress report every 90 days with the number of rebels trained, which Syrian groups have been chosen to participate and how the supplied weapons and equipment were used.