The Pentagon has begun paying modest stipends to the Syrian moderates it hopes to field in the fight against Islamic State militants, the military confirmed Monday.

Training of the first group of about 90 fighters began last month. They will be paid stipends of $250 to $400 per month, depending on their skills, performance and leadership, said Navy Cmdr. Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman. Preparing the recruits for battle is expected to take several months.

The Pentagon expects to have 3,000 fighters trained by year’s end, Smith said. The goal for 12 months is 5,400. She declined to say how many are currently being trained. […]