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Published: Friday June 27, 2014 MYT 7:30:13 AM
Updated: Friday June 27, 2014 MYT 7:31:29 AM

Hagel orders detailed Pentagon planning on Syrian rebel training

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has asked his staff to develop more detailed plans to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels, should Congress approve funding requested by President Barack Obama, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

Obama, under pressure from some lawmakers for greater U.S. backing for Syria's opposition, earlier on Thursday asked the U.S. Congress to approve $500 million (£293.6 million) for such a mission.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the funds would allow the U.S. military to "train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition."

"The Secretary has directed his staff to begin developing more detailed plans to carry out the train-and-equip mission, if approved by Congress," Kirby said in a statement.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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