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Moscow Opposes Idea of Training Camp for Syrian Opposition Fighters in Georgia

© Fotolia / ValeriyThe creation of a training camp for Syrian opposition fighters in Georgia will damage security in South Caucasus, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
The creation of a training camp for Syrian opposition fighters in Georgia will damage security in South Caucasus, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday. - Sputnik International
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The creation of a training camp for Syrian opposition fighters in Georgia will damage security in South Caucasus, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Updated 05:21 p.m. Moscow Time

MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) – The creation of a training camp for Syrian opposition fighters in Georgia will damage security in South Caucasus, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

“Moscow noted recent media reports about plans to create a US training camp for Syrian opposition fighters in Georgia,” the ministry said in a statement. “Such a decision, if made by Tbilisi, will do serious damage to stability and security in South Caucasus.”

The statement comes in response to media reports that Georgia has offered to host a training facility for Syrian rebels as part of the US-led campaign against the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

An article in the Foreign Policy magazine last week cited Georgia's US Ambassador Archil Gegeshidze as saying the camp was "something we offered, but is still under consideration."

The offer to host a training camp was reportedly made by Georgian officials during a closed-door meeting with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on his visit to Georgia's capital, Tbilisi in early September.

The potential scale of the Georgia-based training program remains unclear, but, if accepted, the offer could supplement Washington's existing plan to train 5,000 Syrian rebels in Saudi Arabia in the next year to fight against IS militants in Iraq and Syria, the magazine said.

US President Barack Obama says IS can be routed by US-led airstrikes and bolstering a ground force of Kurds, Iraqis and moderate elements of Syria’s opposition. Critics say he lacks reliable allies, is over-reliant on air-power and has no strategy for ending Syria’s civil war.

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