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Coalition mulling ‘training Syrian tribes’ — official

By Khetam Malkawi - Mar 23,2015 - Last updated at Mar 23,2015

AMMAN — Jordan along with other countries in the region are in the process of providing training for Syrian “people and tribes” in the areas dominated by terrorist groups, including Daesh, a senior government official said on Monday.

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani, who is also government spokesperson, said members of the coalition to fight terrorism continue to discuss how to help the Syrian people and tribes in the areas controlled by Daesh or other terrorist organisations, including through training them to defend themselves and to defeat terrorists “who have been killing their sons and daughters and occupying their land”.

“Jordan is part of that and it is a continuous effort to help Syrian people and tribes fight terrorism,” Momani said at a press conference on Monday.

He added that providing training for Syrian people does not mean that the Kingdom is changing its policy towards Syria. 

“We still stand by our position that we are supporting a political process and a political solution to the Syrian crisis based on Geneva I and we still believe that the solution for this crisis is by bringing all factions together to discuss the stability of their country and the future of their country,” said Momani.

However, the minister declined to comment on when or where the training of Syrians will take place.

“At this point, we are talking about policy, and the details about the location and actual operation of the training will be announced at the appropriate time and place,” he noted, adding that if the training becomes operational, “we will announce it then”.

In response to a question about forming a coalition of Arab forces to fight Daesh and other terrorist groups, the minister said there have been talks about this issue by Egyptian officials, and it is also being discussed among other Arab countries. However, “the issue is to be discussed in the upcoming Arab Summit [in Sharm El Sheikh in the coming weekend]… We have to wait until Arab leaders decide in this regard”, and Jordan will be a supporter for any effort that seeks to achieve the interests of the region.

As for taking part in ground military operations against Daesh, Momani said the Kingdom’s role is to support the Iraqi army and the peshmerga forces in Kurdistan in their war against this terrorist group, through providing them with the training they need.

He added that Jordan has trained more than 60,000 Iraqi policemen and hundreds of army officers and the Kingdom is still ready to train more Iraqi soldiers whenever a request is made.  In addition, the official noted that Jordanian military factories supply equipment to Iraq.

As for the Kingdom’s ties with Iran that recently witnessed some openness, Momani only said that Jordan has always been open to countries of the region to realise benefits to all concerned parties.

Asked on Jordan’s stance regarding the win of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party in the recent Israeli elections, the minister said Jordan insists on a peace deal on the basis of the two-state solution and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, leading to a sovereign and independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. 

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