A group of 300 militants will go through the first phase of the training program next Saturday, Turkish daily Yeni Şafak quoted the country’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as saying on Saturday.
Çavuşoğlu added that a total of 2,000 militants will be trained by the end of the current year, claiming that the trained militants will fight both the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the ISIL Takfiri terrorists, who control parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq.
Ankara and Washington signed a deal to train and arm the militants following months-long talks on February 19. The program is aimed at training over 15,000 militants in three years. Over 120 US soldiers are reportedly in Turkey to train the militants.
Çavuşoğlu also noted that a secure zone inside Syria should be established for the militants.
Ankara will provide the militants with assistance such as “consultations,” the Turkish minister said, adding that no decision has been made on sending Turkish and American troops to Syria.
Turkey was one of the three countries that publicly expressed readiness to open its territory for the training of the militants.
“Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also announced that they will be hosting a train-and-equip program,” Çavuşoğlu said on February 20.
Turkey has time and again been accused of supporting the so-called Free Syrian Army and the ISIL in Syria.
Ankara has also come under fire for not doing enough to halt the advance of the ISIL as well as for its perceived reluctance to crack down on militants using its territory to travel into Syria, gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011.
The US and its regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside the Arab country.