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U.S. And Turkey Sign Agreement To Train, Arm Syrian Rebels

The U.S. and Turkey have reportedly signed an agreement to train and arm Syrian rebels in the fight against ISIS.

By Kate Grumke | February 19, 2015

The U.S. and Turkey have reportedly signed an agreement to train and arm Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State

The plan has been a long time coming. Back in September, Congress formally authorized President Obama's plan to train-and-equip Syrian rebels to fight against ISIS.

Turkey, Syria's northern neighbor, agreed to train Syrian opposition a month later in October.

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But many lawmakers have voiced concern that American arms will end up in the wrong hands.

"This is an American tank now in the possession of ISIS when the Iraqis cut and ran, this is a humvee going through a parade, also 4 humvees that apparently have never been used that are now in the possession of ISIS when the Iraqis cut and ran. Now we want to arm Syrian rebels..." Rep. Ted Poe said.

According to U.S. officials, the 1,200 rebels the U.S. has identified as potentials for the program are going through many levels of screening, including background checks, psych evaluations and stress tests. (Video via YouTube / adri12345)

Turkey has been a reluctant partner in the fight against ISIS. Although the country is part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he won't intervene in Syria without a commitment from Washington to take out Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

But the U.S. Department of Defense reiterated Wednesday that the only enemy is ISIS, despite the fact that these rebels are part of the opposition to Assad. The Obama Administration has said it also wants to see Assad removed from power, but has lately been less assertive. (Video via VICE) 

The training program in Turkey could begin as early as March. (Video via CNN)

This video contains Getty Images.

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