05:35 GMT26 January 2020
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    The Pentagon will seek to teach the loyalties of opposition recruits in the renewed US train and equip program in Syria, US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander nominee Gen. Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The recruits will focus on fighting Daesh as opposed to fighting Syrian government forces, Votel explained.

    "We are trying to avoid the problem we had the last time, where we didn’t know what their allegiances are," Votel said of renewed Pentagon efforts to train and equip Syrian opposition fighters.

    At the end of 2015, the Pentagon announced the cancellation of its Syrian train and equip program after the $500 million initiative failed to produce more than five or six fighters.

    Earlier this week, current CENTCOM Commander Gen. Lloyd Austin announced the Pentagon would restart the train and equip program.

    Votel noted that focusing US recruitment on opposition leaders that would only fight Daesh would "limit the pool" of recruits. He also stated that US assistance should not be provided to individuals or groups that have attacked other US-supported assets in Syria.

    Following the 2015 failure of the Syrian train and equip program, the Pentagon began providing weapons and training to what it termed the Syrian Arab Coalition.


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    Syrian opposition, Daesh, CENTCOM, United States, Syria
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