President Obama just found out how many good anti-ISIS fighters $500 million buys: five, at most.
Gen. Lloyd Austin, who leads the U.S. military’s Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday there are only four or five Syrian fighters left out of 54 who were trained as part of a U.S. program.
Another 100-120 fighters will be trained in the program’s three remaining classes, NBC Newsreported Wednesday.
Obama said in September that assisting Syrian rebels was “the best counterweight” for combating the Sunni radical terror group’s control over large swathes of Iraq and Syria, NBC reported.
During Gen. Austin’s testimony, Arizona Republican John McCain expressed frustration over the U.S.-led coalition’s inability to degrade the terror group’s ranks.
“Published media reports suggest that the CIA’s estimate of ISIL’s manpower has remained constant, despite U.S. airstrikes, which suggests that either they were wrong to begin with, or that ISIL is replacing its losses in real time. Neither is good,” McCain said, NBC reported. “Indeed, this committee is disturbed by recent whistleblower allegations that officials at Central Command skewed intelligence assessments to paint an overly-positive picture of conditions on the ground.”
Experts believe ISIS has at least 30,000 soldiers at its disposal. Roughly 1,000 of those fighters are said to be from the United Kingdom.
FBI Director James Comey said “upwards of 200 Americans “Why Call them American’s?” US Traders are in Syria fighting with ISIS during a July hearing before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.
“These threats remain among the highest priorities for the FBI and the intelligence community as a whole,” Comey said, The Hill reported July 8.