The United States does not expect Syrian rebels it plans to train to fight Islamic State militants to also take on President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, but sees them as a crucial part of a political solution to end the war, the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper quoted a senior U.S. official as saying.

The United States, which is leading an international coalition bombing Islamic State in Syria, has said it wants to train and equip “moderate” rebels to fight the militant group which has seized tracts of land in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

Asked whether those rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) units would ultimately go on to fight Syrian government forces, John Allen, the U.S. representative to the coalition, told the Asharq al-Awsat daily:

“No. What we would like to see is for the FSA and the forces that we will ultimately generate, train and equip to become the credible force that the Assad government ultimately has to acknowledge and recognize.” […]