A solid year after Congress authorized $500 million for the training and creation of a brand new pro-US Syrian rebel force, the first class of trainees was deployed into Syria. What was initially expected to be tens of thousands of fighters ended up being 54, and they were quickly routed by al-Qaeda.
It’s just now that the Pentagon is finally admitting to there being “flaws” in their plan, and they are now talking about “tweaks” so that their future efforts are a little less disastrous than what they’ve accomplished so far.
The admission itself is a leap forward for the Pentagon, which has been insisting the 54 troops were going to do just fine, despite there only being 54 of them. Despite this, however, they are offering no indication of what changes they might make, suggesting that finally noticing there are problems with their plan didn’t bring them much closer to “fixing” it.
Officials say there are two more classes of rebels, about 200 more of them, being trained right now, meaning they could have a four-fold increase in the number of fighters on the ground in Syria, though they will still be by far the smallest independent faction inside Syria.