WASHINGTON – A top US general has asked for permission to resurrect an effort to train Syrian opposition fighters for battles against Islamic State militants, but on a smaller scale than a previous program that failed and was scrapped last year. General Lloyd Austin, the head of Central Command, which oversees US forces in the Middle East, told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that
unlike the previous effort, which sought to recruit and train entire units of fighters outside the country to redeploy into Syria, the new program would focus on shorter-term training of smaller groups. “As we reintroduce those people back into the fight, they will be able to enable the larger groups that they’re a part of,” Austin said. “I’ve asked for permission to restart the effort using a different approach,” Austin said.