The Obama administration has reportedly approved the Pentagon’s request to once again arm and train Syrian rebels, albeit on a smaller scale than a previous effort that had a price tag of $500 million and effectively trained far less rebels than originally estimated.
There is currently limited information available regarding details of the new program other than statements that the program is confirmed to be re-launched. The Los Angeles Times reported that Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S. military operation to defeat ISIS known as Operation Inherent Resolve, has yet to declare how many fighters will be trained or when the program will begin. Warren reportedly noted that the new program will be a smaller operation, acknowledging that “this is part of our adjustments to the train and equip program built on prior lessons learned.”
After reports surfaced in Sept. 2015 that the the Pentagon was suspending its “train and equip” program for Syrian rebels, the program officially ended in Oct. 2015, largely due to its ineffectiveness. Trainees in the first group of the program were reported to have “largely disbanded soon after they were sent into combat; some were captured or killed, while others fled,” and training of another group “yielded only a small number of new fighters, drawing criticism from U.S. lawmakers who condemned the program as a joke and a failure.”
The original program’s cost reached $384 million and produced only 145 trained fighters, which was far less than the 5,400 fighters that the program had originally hoped to train.
In early March, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) commander, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, asked the Obama administration for approval “to restart the effort by using a different approach,” according to The Hill.
Ben Swann released a Truth In Media episode, embedded below, that explored “the central issue of whether or not ISIS was created by ‘inaction’ by the United States government or by ‘direct’ action,” including the U.S. government sending weapons to Syrian rebels.
According to the Department of Defense, the most recent estimated cost of “operations related to ISIL since kinetic operations started on August 8, 2014, is $6.5 billion and the average daily cost is $11.4 million for 571 days of operations.”
For more information, see these related links:
Flashback: Ben Swann’s Truth In Media on Syria
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