Is the US abandoning Syria's train and equip program? No one seems to know for sure

Published September 30th, 2015 - 01:39 GMT
A series of setbacks has led to international criticism over the effectiveness of the US's train and equip for Syrian rebels. (AFP/File)
A series of setbacks has led to international criticism over the effectiveness of the US's train and equip for Syrian rebels. (AFP/File)

There's a lot of cofusion (again) surrounding the US's train-and-equip program for Syrian rebels this week, as conflicting reports emerge on its suspension.

A CBS report Monday said the program had been suspended after the latest batch of fighters turned over fresh American weapons to al-Qaeda's Syria wing Nusra Front in northern Syria. 

Here's that headline — along with a pretty embarrassing "40-year-old war" typo— below. 

 

Iran's state-run Press TV followed with a simiar report Wednesday, this time citing a comment from Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.

“As we review the program, we have paused the actual movement of new recruits from Syria,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said Tuesday, according to Press TV.

But media in the US reports a different story. 

DC-based news organization The Hill reported Tuesday afternoon a White House assertion that no part of Syria's train-and-equip program had been suspended, contrary to reports that said it had. 

"We have clearly faced challenges with the Train & Equip program, and we are currently reviewing our efforts to determine how we can do better," said Emily Horne, National Security Council spokesperson, according to the news organization.

Later Tuesday, another report by the Hill quoted Peter Cook again—this time, the Pentagon spokesperson said the program would continue to vet and recruit potential fighters, but had in fact "paused the actual movement of new recruits from Syria."

The Hill also cited CBS's initial Monday article, saying US officials first pushed back on the report. 

Now the news is trickling out on Twitter alongside photos purporting to show Nusra fighters donning brand new rifles from the bundle handed over by the latest group of US-trained rebels.

Right now it's not clear what's next in store for the US program, but one thing's for sure—getting the same, clear answer from the Pentagon and the White House would be a good place to start setting the record straight. 

 

 

 


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