A U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group said it would act as a ground force to back up any airstrikes against Islamic State fighters controlling eastern areas of the country.

“If there are airstrikes against Islamic State, the Free Syrian Army is ready on the ground,” said Khalid Saleh, senior spokesman for the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces in an interview in Istanbul. “FSA brigades are engaging Islamic State fighters in different parts of Syria and they need much better support.”

The U.S has provided covert training, equipment and money for the FSA since 2012 in the hopes that group would be able to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad as well as provide a bulwark against Islamist groups that have flourished in Syria over the past two years. […]