On December 6, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the U.S. Army General Joseph Dunford revealed that the US-led coalition is planning to train between 35,000 and 40,000 locals to defeat ISIS and stabilize the northeastern part of Syria.
“We estimate about 35,000 to 40,000 local forces have to be trained and equipped in order to provide stability … We are probably somewhere along the line of 20 percent through the training of those forces,” Dunford said at the “Transformers:Defense” event hosted by the Washington Post, according to the Russian news outlet Sputnik.
The general added that the U.S. still has “a long way to go” in Syria and said that its military presence there will be adjusted depending on the circumstances.
The locals, which the U.S. is planning to train and possibly to arm, will likely be a part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Kurdish-dominated group became the biggest U.S. proxy in Syria in the last two years after liberating most of the northeastern part of the war torn country from ISIS.
The U.S. adopted a similar plan in 2014, under which thousands of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters were trained and equipped throughout Syria. Instead of stabilizing the situation, the plan that was authorized by former President Barack Obama, led to an unprecedented spread of terrorism in Syria and the Middle East in general.