US considers changes in Syrian train-and-equip program

Pentagon says it has learned lessons from first phase of program that failed to yield expected results

US considers changes in Syrian train-and-equip program

World Bulletin / News Desk

The U.S. will make changes to a train-and-equip program for Syrian opposition groups as the program failed to produce effective results in the fight against ISIL, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday. 

"We've been candid that the initial phase of this program did not lift off with the kind of efficiency that we'd hoped," Peter Cook told reporters. "We've learned lessons from that, continue to learn lessons from that."

Cook said Secretary of Defense Ash Carter views moderate Syrian forces as a critical component of the fight against ISIL and has been looking into possible options to expand and enhance the efficiency of the Syrian rebel groups.

"We're going to tweak the program, make adjustments as we go," the spokesman added without providing specifics of any potential changes. 

The Pentagon exploration of possible changes came after al-Nusrah Front, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, attacked a group of 54 Syrian fighters who had graduated from the train-and-equip program in late July. A day prior to the attack, two leaders of the trainee group and several of its fighters were captured by al-Nusrah.

The U.S. has trained just 54 Syrian rebels in the course of half a year. The encounter with al-Nusrah revealed several deficiencies with the trainees’ ability to defend themselves and their intelligence gathering capabilities.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Eylül 2015, 09:03