01:50 GMT02 December 2020
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    UK plans to support the US program to train the Syrian opposition to fight IS extremists, providing aid to Syria's moderate opposition.

    LONDON, November 11 (Sputnik) – The United Kingdom plans to provide significant support to Syria's moderate opposition, as part of broader US-led efforts to fight the IS extremist group, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said after a meeting with Syrian opposition leader Hadi al-Bahra in London.

    "We are providing non-lethal equipment and the UK expects to make a significant contribution to the US led-Train and Equip program," Hammond said as quoted by the British Foreign Ministry in a Monday press release.

    "This complements wider international efforts to strengthen the moderate armed opposition," Hammond added.

    The United States launched a program to train the Syrian opposition to fight IS extremists after US President Barack Obama announced his strategy to defeat IS in September. The program stipulates providing aid to Kurdish fighters and "moderate" opposition in Syria.

    Obama's strategy also implied creating an anti-IS coalition. The coalition, set up in September, currently comprises more than 60 countries and is carrying out airstrikes against IS targets in Syria and Iraq.

    IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the extremist group expanded its attacks to northern and western Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control. The United States first authorized airstrikes against IS positions in August.

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    Philip Hammond, Syria, US, United Kingdom
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