Hariri Center Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof speaks with NPR about US policy in Syria and the fading opposition movement:
KELEMEN: His argument went out and with some limited vetting the program went forward. Now the Danish government is footing the bill. But that was a small victory and one that may not last. A former State Department Advisor on Syria, Fred Hof, who’s now with the Atlantic Council says, those police officers in Aleppo and other opposition figures are under threat from the Assad regime and from the Islamic State, or ISIS militants.
FRED HOF: So while ISIS assaults on the ground and the regime, you know, drops barrel bombs from helicopters we may find a situation in the not-too-distant future, you know, where the opposition to both ISIS and the regime is effectively eliminated on the ground in the Aleppo area.
KELEMEN: The the police program highlights the debate in Washington on how active the U.S. should be in the region. While Hof thinks the state department tried to be imaginative with its programs like the one in Aleppo, it was too limited to make a difference. He believes the U.S. made a mistake by not doing enough to arm and train the Syrian opposition earlier. The Middle East Institute’s Daniel Serwer adds, small-scale initiatives won’t work without a strategy.