Rebooted Pentagon program trained fewer than 100 Syrians
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The Pentagon has trained fewer than 100 additional Syrian fighters to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to a new report.

The initiative’s results come after a total reboot of the Obama administration’s strategy for boosting Syrian combatants last October, The Washington Post reported on Monday.


The Post said most of the fighters that U.S. military personnel have trained received their education outside of Syria.

Military officials told the newspaper that those trained are specialized fighters known as “spotters,” rather than typical infantry troops.

“What we’re looking at now is taking out key enabler personnel from certain units, training them and then reinserting them so they can provide information to the coalition to enable us to then target ISIL,” one official said, using an alternate acronym for ISIS.

The Washington Post said the Pentagon fields about 300 Special Operations troops on the ground in Syria. Those personnel are tasked with instructing a variety of friendly Syrian factions across the war-torn nation.

The groups include fighters from northwest and southern Syria trained in the Pentagon’s original program. It also entails Kurdish fighters in northern and eastern Syria, plus Arab tribal forces near ISIS’s de facto capital of Raqqa.

The Washington Post noted that most U.S. forces are in northeast Syria, far from government forces sworn to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Other American personnel train Syrian “enabler” forces outside Syria, the newspaper said, in facilities located in Jordan and Turkey.

The Obama administration announced last October after the Pentagon’s struggles vetting and training individual fighters.

Christine E. Wormuth, undersecretary of defense for policy, said on Oct. 9, 2015 the program was on “operational pause” but could resume in the future.

“What we’re really trying to do here is build on what has worked for us and learn from some of the things that have been a lot more challenging,” Wormuth said.