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Pentagon to 'refocus' Syria rebel training programme

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th October 2015 07:49 PM

The Pentagon-run programme to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State jihadists is being overhauled, US officials said Friday.

Pentagon to 'refocus' Syria rebel training programme

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter speaks during a joint press conference with British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon (unseen) at Lancaster House in central London on October 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL

The Pentagon-run programme to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State jihadists is being overhauled, US officials said Friday.

The Pentagon-run programme to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State jihadists is being overhauled, US officials said Friday.

Speaking at a news conference in London, Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said he had been dissatisfied with the effort, which suffered disastrous blows in its early days.

"We have devised a number of different approaches... going forward," Carter said.

A senior US defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, later said the programme was being "refocused to enhance its effectiveness".

The official said some training and embedding of rebels would continue to take place.

The initial results of the programme were roundly denounced as a flop, with one group of trainees giving ammunition and other equipment to an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria.

Carter cited the work US trainers have done with Kurds in northern Syria as an example of how the training may be focused in the future.

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