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US to abandon training new Syria rebels

October 9, 2015 6:04 pm

The US is to end its efforts to train new Syrian rebel forces and says it will shift to providing equipment and weapons to existing forces.

Its $USD500m programme was heavily criticised after it emerged that US-trained rebels had handed vehicles and ammunition over to extremists.

It emerged last month that only four or five of the fighters were in Syria.

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The programme had aimed to train and equip 5,400 fighters this year and a further 15,000 in 2016.

A senior administration official said the programme was being put on “pause”.

The programme had suffered from “significant challenges”, the official said, adding: “We had a very high bar in terms of recruiting”.

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