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Dempsey says it will take at least 3 months to begin training of moderate Syrian rebels

In this Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 photo, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Speaking to a small group of reporters after meeting with his French counterpart on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 in Paris, Dempsey said it will take three or four months to begin the $500 million training program, which the House approved on Wednesday and sent to the Senate, where members of both parties predicted easy passage.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In this Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 photo, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Speaking to a small group of reporters after meeting with his French counterpart on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 in Paris, Dempsey said it will take three or four months to begin the $500 million training program, which the House approved on Wednesday and sent to the Senate, where members of both parties predicted easy passage. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)  (The Associated Press)

The top U.S. military officer says it will take at least three months to begin to train and arm moderate Syrian rebel forces.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the goal is to field a cohesive fighting group in eight to 12 months.

Gen. Martin Dempsey says in an interview with The Associated Press that the hardest part of developing the rebels is determining who they would be responsible to inside Syria. Dempsey says it would have to be figured out before the trained rebel force could be turned loose to fight the Islamic State group.

Dempsey says that once they're trained, rebels might be asked to help restore the Syria-Iraq border. Islamic State militants have virtually eliminated the border.