16:17 GMT +320 February 2017
    US-led coalition instructors monitor as they train Iraqi soldiers from the army's 72nd infantry brigade while participating in a joint live ammunition exercise at Besmaya military base in south of Baghdad, Iraq, January 27, 2016.

    Pentagon Wants to Give ‘Train and Equip’ Program in Syria Another Try

    © REUTERS/ Thaier Al-Sudani
    Middle East
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    They say “You cannot step in the same river twice” but that doesn’t apply to the US military, now requesting the Obama administration restart a halted project on training Syrian rebels, as they believe that with the different approach the program will succeed.

    US Army General Lloyd Austin, commander of US Central Command (Centcom) asked the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday for permission to relaunch the $500-million program to train and equip "moderate rebels" to fight Daesh in Syria and Iraq, The Hill has reported.

    Washington's previous plan to train and arm so-called moderate Syrian rebels to fight Daesh was an utter failure and an ongoing source of embarrassment for the Obama administration, as last October the program was suspended due to the Pentagon's inability to field enough qualified candidates.

    According to Austin, the new program will be based on hiring less people so that they can be encouraged to perform with better quality in a shorter period of time.

    "And as we reintroduce those people back into the fight, they will be able to enable the larger groups that they're a part of," he said. "The training would be shorter. But again, I think they would be able to greatly enable the forces once they're reintroduced."

    After the program canceled, the US army cooperated with the Syrian Democratic Forces, a group 80 percent comprised of Kurdish militants.

    US cooperation with Kurdish YPG in Syria makes its NATO ally Turkey furious and concerns Congress. YPG is also known to attack US-trained rebels and cooperate with Russian forces.

    Austin said the new program would take into consideration the previous failed effort as a lesson.

    "We were being effective, but we were slow in getting started, in generating the numbers that we needed to generate," he said.  

    "Part of that was because we were taking — trying to take large numbers of people out of the fight and keep them out for training for long periods of time. We've adjusted our approach," he said.


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    moderate Syrian rebels, Daesh, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Pentagon, Syria, United States
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    • avatar
      That is it! Second Syria war is in the making.
    • avatar
      Sounds like just another way to support the terrorists.
    • avatar
      And Americans call the Chinese and Russians aggressive?
    • avatar
      bangein reply topeaceactivist2(Show commentHide comment)
      peaceactivist2, Yeah, but not this time. It was a good idea to have a break. On one hand Russian are busy bounding syrian people together and asking rebels to put down their arms and return to normal life. They are progressing in their effort to bring peace. On the other hand, sryan army is pounding on daesh wherever they are. So what Austin is talking about?? the syrian who took arms are putting them down why do you want them to take them again??? It is not going to work. Syrian know your plan and they are fed up. They want reconciliation and peace. You cannot continue fooling them for five years
    • avatar
      Never mind, Putin will send them to allah
    • ariavd
      I wonder,how many people out there is aware of the us strategy of terror,?As a lot of people join the winning side,and most people is only interested in their own doing,It is a matter of time before we see the first desperate move . Russians move some more equipment to syria, to protect their gain there,But soon we will see a new wave of people ,all over the world ,abandon the loosers, who are the until now ,axis of the wold hegemony.. Somebody have to go to the casablanca and train and equip the so,kalled leaders of the world, before something serious happen.?Their behavior is unaceptabel.
    • Ann
      They still want Assad gone and their pipeline in.
    • avatar
      Man these people are realy sick !!
    • avatar
      Did Damascus authorized that? I think international laws are clear. Where is Ban Ki Moon?
      maybe under Obama's desk playing with humanitarian trucks and planes.

      No one BUT Syrian sanction training should take place. That's what began IS anyways. The training of opposition forces.
    • avatar
      The biggest mistake that should be rectified in arming the opposition to the terrorist criminal Assad is the giving of less dollars and more anti-aircraft weapons. That alone would remove Russian and Syrian air power from the equation and make sense of dollars spent.

      Plus it would reach for faster justice and removal of Assad.
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