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Friday 9 October 2015

US To End Training New Syria Rebel Groups.

The US is to end its efforts to train new Syrian rebel forces and says it will shift to providing equipment and weapons to existing forces.

Its $500m (£326m) programme was heavily criticised after it emerged that US-trained rebels had handed vehicles and ammunition over to extremists.
It emerged last month that only four or five of the fighters were in Syria.
The programme had aimed to train and equip 5,400 fighters this year and a further 15,000 in 2016. 

The Pentagon says help will now be provided to "a select group of vetted leaders and their units".
Of the initial two groups sent into the country, the first was rounded up by Jabhat al-Nusra, an offshoot of al-Qaeda, in July. The second handed much of its equipment over to the same group in September, reportedly in exchange for safe passage.

Quoting an anonymous US Department of Defense source, the New York Times reported that the US would no longer recruit Syrian rebels to go through its training programmes in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
Instead, it would establish a smaller training centre in Turkey, where "enablers" - mostly leaders of opposition groups - would be taught operational manoeuvres like how to call in airstrikes, the newspaper said.
Source: BBC

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