The program kicked off in the Spring of 2015 and aimed at preparing five thousand rebels by the end of the year. As a result of mass desertion in the ranks of prospective Syrian rebels and attacks from militant factions, only a handful of trainees left in the end.
In an address to the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of US armed forces in the Middle East, revealed that only five fighters were trained in the end.
Christine Wormuth, undersecretary of Defense for policy, admitted at the time that the “program [was] much smaller than we hoped,” saying between 100 and 120 had been training under the program.
Since then, American forces have continued the training of individual Syrian opposition commanders. Moreover, 50 more US Special Forces troops remain in Syria for assisting local forces in the fight against Daesh.
According to Foreign Policy, unlike the first program, the new effort will focus on training “very small groups” of rebels outside of Syria. They are expected to be taught infantry tactics and brought back to ground in their homeland.
"As we reintroduce those people back into the fight, they will be able to enable the larger groups that they're a part of," Austin said. "The training would be shorter. But again, I think they would be able to greatly enable the forces once they're reintroduced."
It is still unknown how much the new program could cost and how many fighters it aims to train. The date of the launch of the program is yet to be revealed.