Pentagon weighs ramping up SOF in Syria
Phil Stewart, Warren Strobel, Jonathan Landay, Reuters, Apr 1 2016
FASCHINGSTEIN – The
Pindosi administration Pentagon is considering a plan to greatly increase the number of SOF deployed to Syria, said boxtops with direct knowledge of the proposal’s details. They declined to disclose the exact increase under consideration, but one of them said it would leave the SOF contingent “many times” larger than the around 50 currently there. The proposal is among the military options being prepared for Obama. A White House spox declined comment. Pindostan announced last December it was deploying SOF to Iraq. That followed its announcement in October that dozens of SOF would be deployed in Syria. The additional SOF in Syria would train Arabs to fight ISIS. These eventually would be provided weapons. The dozens of SOF now in Syria are working with a collection of Syrian Arab groups within an alliance that is still dominated by Kurdish forces. Pindostan has been supplying Arabs in the thousands-strong alliance with ammunition since October. The new push by SOF in Syria would be separate from a revised military effort under way to train a limited number of Syrian fighters in Turkey as spotters for air strikes.
Pindostan training dozens of Syrians in new program
Phil Stewart, Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters, Apr 1 2016
FASCHINGSTEIN – The Pentagon said on Friday it has started training dozens of Syrians as part of a revamped program that aims to avoid mistakes that doomed its first training effort in Turkey last year. Training for the first group of recruits includes spotting for airstrikes. Army spox Warren said:
That allows us to bring significantly more fires into play in any of these skirmishes, battles, and firefights that are taking place throughout Syria. If it works, we’ll do more, and if it doesn’t, we’ll shift again.
Warren said no Syrian fighters had yet graduated from the program. The Pentagon has declined to say where the training is being conducted, but certain obscure and tenebrous boxtops have told Reuters it is in Turkey. The failure of the original program, which sought to train thousands of fighters, has been a concern for Obama, whose strategy depends on local
partners vassals doing all the fighting. The 2015 program was problematic from the start, with some of the first class of Syrian fighters being attacked by Nusra in their battlefield debut. At one point, a group of Pindo-trained rebels handed over ammunition and equipment to Nusra. Instead of trying to pull entire units from the fight for training, as the Pentagon sought to do last year, the new program will take small groups of fighters from the front-lines for training.