Pentagon Rethinking Syrian Rebel Training Strategy

Training Program Keeps Plugging Away, Creating Dozens of Rebels

A year and $500 million later, the Pentagon finally introduced its first rebels into Syria. The plan was to create a faction of tens of thousands, a new pro-US rebel faction for Syria. The reality was 54 guys, who crossed into Syria and almost immediately were routed by al-Qaeda.

That’s got some in the Pentagon rethinking things, with some downplaying the importance of a program once presented as the end-all, be-all strategy for winning in Syria. Others are suggesting they simply need to change a few things nad get the process going more efficiently.

No matter how much rethinking they’re doing, however, they’re not going to stop blowing hundreds of millions of dollars on the pipe dream of creating this force, and officials say two new classes of rebels have begun training as well. They didn’t indicate how many were in either class, however.

Pentagon officials are still maintaining that the goal is to create a force of 15,000 rebels within three years, though analysts and even some officials are increasingly conceding this just isn’t possible. So long as Congress keeps throwing money at the plan, however, expect the Pentagon to keep taking the money, producing tens of new fighters.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of