The Pentagon has announced it is pausing its half-a-billion dollar training programme for Syrian rebels.
It comes after recent news that the programme had only managed to train barely half a dozen men in Syria, and
those it had trained in Turkish camps had surrendered their weapons before crossing the border into Syria and quitting.
“What you’re seeing now is a focus more on the equipping aspect of that formula than the training aspect. But, I think they also make clear that nobody’s abandoning forever the idea of training. It’s just that there’s going to be a pause,” said White House spokesman John Kirby.
Training camps in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will close, with only the Turkish facility remaining open. The CIA has other covert operations.
Since Russia threw its air power behind President Bashar al-Assad rebel forces have been hit hard, but finding trustworthy loyalists has proved all-but-impossible, and the exhaustive vetting process has meant many have given up in frustration. Quantities of US-supplied weapons have also gone missing and may have fallen into the hands of extremists.