Pentagon Downplays Importance of Failed Syrian Rebel Training Scheme

Training Rebels 'Not the Only Way' to Defeat ISIS

The Pentagon’s training program to create a pro-US Syrian rebel faction, now dubbed “Division 30,” has become a failure of colossal proportions. A $500 million program that was to create around 15,000 rebel fighters instead created 54, and some of them have already been captured by al-Qaeda.

After over a year of insisting this training program was the end-all, be-all of the anti-ISIS strategy in Syria, they have struggled to defend just how few rebels they managed to produce, and to talk up the capabilities of those dozens of guys they trained up.

While Col. Patrick Ryder continued that trend, bragging that the rebels had “defeated” the al-Qaeda ambush, the dwindling number of fighters they’ve got is making the narrative of how great things are going impossible to maintain, and he insisted that the training program was not “the only way” to defeat ISIS.

Elaborating though, Ryder bragged about the Syrian Kurds taking territory from ISIS, which is a problem of its own since Turkey, a key US ally, is threatening war with those Kurds, not wanting them along their southern border.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of