Pentagon working to rebuild Syrian rebel training program
The Pentagon announced on Sunday several changes to its fight against ISIS. The Department of Defense is drawing up plans to revamp the program used to create a force of moderate rebels aimed at combating the ISIS militants in Syria. The proposed changes come after a Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda attacked, in late July, many of the first 54 Syrian graduates of the military’s training program and the rebel unit they came from. A day before the attack, two leaders of the American-backed group and several of its fighters were captured.
The classified options now circulating at senior levels of the Pentagon include enlarging the size of the groups of trained rebels sent back into Syria, shifting the location of the deployments to ensure local support, and improving intelligence provided to the fighters. No decisions have been made on specific proposals, according to four senior Defense Department and Obama administration officials briefed on the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential planning.
The attack revealed many failures in the program according to classified reviews. Pentagon officials believe the rebels were not fully prepared for an enemy attack and were sent back to Syria in too small numbers.
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