MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – 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, the Foreign Policy magazine reported Tuesday.
"[The training center] was something we offered, but is still under consideration," Georgian Ambassador to the United States, Archil Gegeshidze, told Foreign Policy.
Gegeshidze noted that the training facility could host anti-IS fighters from multiple countries, not just Syria.
"It's a counterterrorism training center for any nationality," Gegeshidze said.
According to Foreign Policy, the offer to host a training camp was 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, Foreign Policy reports.
US President Barack Obama unveiled a strategy for defeating the IS on September 10. The plan includes forming an international coalition to fight the radical organization and authorizing US airstrikes against IS positions in Syria, while simultaneously continuing airstrikes in Iraq, which the United States authorized in August.
Washington has also said it will provide support, equipment and training to Kurdish forces, Iraqi forces and Syria's opposition as part of its efforts to eliminate the IS threat.
The 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, it launched an offensive in Iraq and seized vast areas in both countries, proclaiming an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.