The top US commander in the Middle East is telling a Senate panel that only four or five of the Syrian fighters trained by the US remain in the fight. Gen. Lloyd Austin testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that the US is looking at the best ways to deploy
the Syrian forces. But he agrees that the US will not reach its goal of training 5,000 in the near term. Austin came under heavy criticism from the panel’s chairman, Sen. John McCain, who called the US strategy in Iraq and Syria a debacle. About 60 were trained, but many have been killed or left the fight. Congress has approved $500 million to train Syrian fighters. Officials have said about 200 are going through training now.