U.S. only training 60 Syrian fighters, far below expectations

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 07, 2015 10:04 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States was only training about 60 Syrian opposition fighters to battle Islamic State as of July 3, far below expectations, partly due to rigorous U.S. vetting of recruits, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress on Tuesday.

"We are looking for ways to streamline our train and equip program's vetting process to get more recruits into the training pipeline," Carter told a Senate hearing in prepared remarks.

"We are also refining our curriculum, expanding our outreach to the moderate opposition, and incorporating lessons learned from the first training class."

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The program, which was launched in May in Jordan and later in Turkey, had aimed to train as many as 5,400 fighters a year.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and David Alexander; Editing by Doina Chiacu)