The U.S. has screened about 1,200 moderate Syrian rebels who could participate in a new training program so they eventually can return to the fight against Islamic State insurgents who have taken control of large portions of Syria, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby says the fighters will continue to be screened as they move through the process, and they could go to any of the three training facilities in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — once those sites are set up.

The rebel fighters, who come from several moderate groups in Syria, will get training on basic military equipment and skills, including firearms, communications and command and control abilities. […]