Conflicting reports in Syria show murkier side of US train and equip program

Published September 20th, 2015 - 09:29 GMT
Conflicting reports from CENTCOM and monitors on the ground proves the US program is no clearer than before. (AFP/File)
Conflicting reports from CENTCOM and monitors on the ground proves the US program is no clearer than before. (AFP/File)

The US's train and equip program is generating more questions this week, as counts from monitors on the ground conflict with those from the Pentagon. 

On Friday, US Central Command spokesperson Colonel Pat Ryder claimed more US-trained rebels had entered the country than originally claimed by CENTCOM Head Gen. Lloyd Austin last week. 

But a report from UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights tells yet another story. 

The first class of US fighters readied 54 rebels for battle, part of a $500 million package aiming to train and equip almost 6,000 Syrians by the end of this year. Ryder broke down what happened to those fighters once they left the program.

Here's what you need to know, via a report by MSNBC.

1. CENTCOM claims nine Syrian fighters are still inside the country fighting with weapons and training from the US, plus monetary stipends from the US coalition. 

2. Thirty two others remain in Syria — 14 of which are fighting with other opposition groups and 18 others whose whereabouts the US     does not know.

3. Eleven more fighters are not in Syria at all. Ryder did not elaborate on this point, citing  "operational security."

4. The last two are believed to have had darker fates — Ryder says one is believed to be killed in action, while the last of 54 US trained rebels in currently a captive of al-Nusra, Syria's al Qaeda wing. 

Meanwhile, Reuters reported Sunday the Syrian Observatory said 75 American trained rebels crossed into northern Syria from Turkey Friday in a 12-vehicle convoy equipped with mounted machine guns.

 

 

 


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