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Obama praises House vote on arming Syrian rebels
September 17, 2014 22:49 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says a House vote granting authority for the U.S. military to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels is an important step toward confronting the Islamic State group.

The Republican-controlled House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to authorize the program. A Senate vote is expected as early as Thursday.

Obama says the House vote shows there's bipartisan support for a critical component of his strategy to confront Islamic State extremists, who have seized territory in Iraq and Syria.

The president says the training won't be conducted in Syria and U.S. military personnel won't be on the ground in Syria as part of the program. He says the U.S. has learned from fighting al-Qaida that it's better to use America's capabilities to help partners on the ground defend themselves.