75 US-trained rebels enter Syria

75 US-trained rebels enter Syria
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Seventy-five U.S.-trained rebels crossed the border from Turkey into northern Syria between Friday night and Saturday morning, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

The U.S. training program has been under intense scrutiny after a general told a Senate panel last week that only “four or five” U.S.-trained rebels were in Syria.

Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP that the rebels entered Aleppo province.

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Hassan Mustafa, spokesman for the U.S.-backed Division 30 unit to which some of the rebels were deployed, added that the fighters were now in the town of Tal Rifaat.

“Their training in Turkey lasted two months and they went directly to the front lines with Daesh,” Mustafa told the AFP.

The Pentagon declined to confirm the reports to the AFP.

Last week, the training program came under fire after Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that only “four or five” of the 54 rebels the United States trained were in Syria.

That first class of fighters was deployed in July, but suffered severe losses after an attack by an al Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front.

The $500 million program originally had a goal of training 5,400 by the end of the year.