Western plans to train and equip non-jihadi rebels in Syria will not start until at least late February, a leading opposition figure said on Friday, depriving them of support they need to counter both rival insurgents and Syrian government forces.

The relatively moderate rebels loosely grouped under the “Free Syrian Army” label are struggling to hold their ground against much more militant groups such as Islamic State and the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and against government forces.

A U.S.-led coalition is bombing Islamic State, which has seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq. The West is also opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, though he has defied their demands to quit since Syria’s civil war erupted in 2011.