The US military training program intended for moderate Syrian rebels has been a letdown for everyone with only less than 100 volunteers remaining.
The $500-million Train-and-Equip program was endorsed last year with the intention to prepare enough capable fighters to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The 6000 volunteers who first enrolled in the program have been carefully vetted to investigate their religious affiliations; only 1500 have passed muster. The number has dropped to less than 100.
The program was created to train 3000-5000 volunteers per year for three years.
As the training program continues, hundreds were sent home due to various problems including physical incapacity or being underage; some were expelled for revealing extremist trends. In fact, few volunteers have shown interest in fighting the Islamic State’s militants, and rather preferred to battle with their countrymen in the Syrian Army.
According to US officials, the main challenge so far has been finding recruits untainted with Takfiri ideology.
The Syria’s Train-and-Equip program, together with the endeavors to rehabilitate the Iraqi security forces, is central to the United States if a true military balance against the increasingly-expanding ISIS is to be maintained on the ground.
Spokesperson of US Defense Department stated that the aim of the program is producing fighters capable of defending their homes and villages against ISIS advance, not creating a large, offensive force.