The US military could soon be training Syrian rebels, according to a report on Thursday. The Obama administration is apparently considering sending military trainers to increase the capabilities of opposition forces.
Any training by US forces would take place outside of Syria, likely in neighboring Jordan. The development would be a reversal for the administration, which has so far resisted.
But The Huffington Post reports that the decision would give in to demands from some lawmakers, including Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
McCain and others have called for training and providing weaponry to the Syrian rebels, who have been fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad for more than two years.
There have not been any specifics drawn out by the Pentagon yet. However, the new discussions on the US training Syrian rebels could have merit this time around.
ABC News notes that the CIA has already been training some rebel groups in Jordan on how to use communications equipment. They have also been taught how to use some weapons donated by Gulf states. However, the new discussions suggest the US military should take over the program.
The takeover would allow hundreds or thousands to be trained, rather than dozens. It would likely take time to put in place any program by the US military. Along with approval from the host country, the military would also need a good location, a large number of personnel, and a vetting system to make sure instruction is only provided to rebel groups friendly with the United States.
The latest report comes as Congress is considering other measures in Syria. In response to an alleged chemical weapons attack last month, the Obama administration has asked for permission to carry out limited military strikes on Syria. The strikes will likely target facilities that are related to Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal.
Obama could make a decision on asking the US military to train Syrian rebels soon.
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