23:54 GMT01 October 2020
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    Earlier this month, US Department of Defense spokesperson Peter Cook said that the location of Syrian rebels who participated in the US train-and-equip program to fight Islamic State militants is unclear adding that Washington "would have concerns" if any of the rebels had joined such groups as the al-Nusra Front, the al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Fewer than a half dozen of the US-trained Syrian fighters are currently engaged in combat against the Islamic State in Syria, US Commander of Central Command (CENTCOM) General Lloyd Austin said at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

    "The ones [fighters] that are in the fight is, we are talking four or five," Austin said when asked of the exact number of US-trained Syrian fighters currently engaged in combat against ISIL.

    The United States is training 100 moderate Syrian fighters as part of their train and equip program to combat Islamic State forces, US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth said.

    "As of September 15, our train and equip program, the specific program we have, we are now currently training 100 fighters and we have additional recruits in the pipeline."

    Wormuth acknowledged that the number was "smaller than we hoped for," and attributed the low levels of recruitment to a "very rigorous training process" to meet US standards.

    In July, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter reported that the United States had successfully trained only 60 Syrian fighters. In 2014, the US Congress authorized $500 millions to train and equip moderate Syrians in the fight against IS.

    The United States has been supporting what it calls "moderate" Syrian rebels with financial aid and supplies of small arms.

    Moreover, the United States has led a 62-nation coalition that has conducted airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria since September 2014. Albeit without the approval of the Syrian government.


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    Daesh, moderate Syrian rebels, Syria, United States
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