Bloomberg quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof on the change of policy on training Syrian rebel groups:

Fred Hof, the administration’s former special adviser for transition in Syria, said the original plan to vet fighters and train them outside the war zone to create a force targeted at Islamic State was doomed from the start.

“The idea you can recruit Syrians who’ve been fighting Assad for years and have them do a one-way mission to fight against Islamic State was never feasible,” Hof said.


Hof, now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, says the scaled-back program may also be a way of “putting down a marker to the Russians.”


The White House is putting Russia on notice that “we’re not just abandoning the program, we’re segueing to something else that includes people you may be targeting, so don’t target them,” Hof said.

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