A top U.S. military commander for operations in the Middle East briefed the Senate Armed Service Committee on Wednesday that there are only four or five fighters left from the first group of 54 Syrian fighters that had been trained by the U.S. as part of a $500 million program.
What’s more, there are only 100-120 fighters in three more classes currently being trained, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Christine Wormuth told the senators. The U.S. military is conducting a broad review of the training program.
Meanwhile, General Lloyd Austin, who leads the U.S. military’s Central Command who has their headquarters in Tampa at MacDill Air Force Base, said he expected the numbers of U.S.-trained Syrian rebels to grow over time. But he acknowledged the program was behind schedule and the military’s initial training targets would not be met.
The revelation sheds light on numbers that the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command have refused to provide the media for weeks, citing operational security.