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Obama Administration Finally Shuts Down Failed Program to Train Syrian Rebels

The Obama administration has finally pulled the plug on the Pentagon program to train moderate Syrian rebels, a program that was widely denounced as a failure in recent months.

The Pentagon had spent $500 million on a program to train and equip moderate factions within Syria that opposed both dictator Bashar al-Assad and radical Islamist factions. The United States never got anywhere close to the stated goal of training 5,000 rebels, with most press reports putting the number around forty or fifty. At one point last month, The New York Times reports, the United States only had “four or five” trainees involved in the Syrian Civil War.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a press conference that he “wasn’t very happy” with the program’s early efforts. “I think you’ll be hearing from President Obama very shortly,” he announced.

An anonymous source tells the Times that the new strategy will likely involve training existing rebels on complex combat operations, such as operating mortars and calling in airstrikes. Ash Carter said that the administration “remains committed” to training Syrians in the fight over the Islamic State.


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