Though the figure was immediately questioned, British Prime Minister David Cameron used the claim of 70,000 “moderate” Syrian rebels ready to ally with Britain as the centerpiece of his argument to expand the war against ISIS into Syria.
Today, Cameron finally admitted the figure was false, admitting that many of those rebels are “relatively hardline Islamists” and that there “aren’t enough” moderate rebels to actually defeat ISIS in the way Britain planned.
Most of Cameron’s comments appeared centered on shifting blame, however, saying it “wasn’t a figure I invented” but came from intelligence agencies as a “best estimate.” He did, however, refuse to name the agencies that the figure came from.
Cameron insisted it was necessary to keep the bulk of the details about these “moderates” secret, however, on the grounds that the Assad government might use the details to target them, and that Britain could potentially work with even the “relative hardliners” in some cases.
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