Obama to Announce Direct Training of Syria Rebels

Covert Training Programs Already Ongoing

Reports citing senior administration officials say President Obama is planning to announce direct training of Syrian rebels in the coming days, saying it would focus on “moderate” factions and aimed at stemming the power of al-Qaeda’s factions in the rebellion.

The US has already been organizing major training operations in Jordan and Qatar for the rebels, and the CIA has reportedly played a key role in the training.

A new PBS documentary on the training operation in Qatar is also bringing added focus to the policy as it already exists, with trainees saying they were being taught “how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush.”

The US has already poured hundreds of millions of dollars into training and arming the “moderate” factions, but they are increasingly irrelevant across Syria, as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Islamic Front dominate the north, and Jabhat al-Nusra, another al-Qaeda faction, controls most of the southern front.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.