Source: U.S.-trained Rebels Return to Syria - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Source: U.S.-trained Rebels Return to Syria

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(CNN) - The first Syrian rebels trained by U.S. military and intelligence officers in Jordan returned to Syria on Thursday, a senior rebel spokesman told CNN.

About 300 rebel fighters received specialized training in Jordan in the use of various weapons, including anti-tank, anti-aircraft and other types of advanced systems, the spokesman said.

More rebel fighters are currently undergoing training.

Syrian rebels' efforts to topple President Bashar al-Assad have claimed more than 60,000 lives since the fighting began in March 2011. Another 940,000 have fled the country and more than 10% of Syria's 20 million residents have been forced to move elsewhere inside the country, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has said.

The conflict began with demands for political reform after the Arab Spring movement that swept the Middle East and Africa, but devolved into civil war when the al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators.