Pentagon halts program to train new militant forces in Syria
The Pentagon plans to stop training new militant forces in Syria, in an acknowledgment that the $500-million program has failed to produce an effective proxy force in the war-torn country.
The beleaguered program — which managed to field only a handful of militants into the battle against Daesh (ISIL) in Syria at a cost of about $50 million — will be abandoned, senior Pentagon officials said on Friday. US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that he “wasn't happy with the early efforts” of the program, “so we have devised a number of different approaches.”
A senior Pentagon official told the New York Times that the United States would cease to recruit so-called moderate militants to go through training in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Instead, the Pentagon plans to set up a less ambitious training center in Turkey, where a small cadre of “enablers” would be taught operational tactics such as how to call in airstrikes.