A new video has emerged showing the so-called New Syrian Army in action, kitted out with American weapons and equipment. The train and equip program is a funded and run under the auspices of the CIA but the actual military training which the New Syrian Army receives is conducted by US Special Operations personnel. The New Syrian Army consists mostly of former Assad regime soldiers who fled the battlefield or defected, eventually getting smuggled out of Syria and into Turkey to receive military training.
The video demonstrates that the New Syrian Army has not only American weapons such as M16s, M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, 60mm and 81mm mortar systems, M240B and M2HB .50 caliber machine guns, but also that they have received training which is aligned with US military infantry doctrine. This can be seen clearly by the manner in which they clear rooms (points of domination method) and how they move tactically from building to building. As noted in a previous article, US Special Forces has a tendency to graph Army military doctrine on top of any and all foreign forces which they train. Also shown are crates of American supplied munitions.
However, the program to fund and train the New Syrian Army is also plagued with problems. American trainers are said to feel that the entire endeavor is a half-baked idea destined for failure. Reportedly, many of the former Syrian military personnel who show up in Turkey have no idea that they are even being recruited for an American sponsored militia until they get off the bus.
How this situation will shape up over the long haul, with President Obama announcing that US Special Operations soldiers will be deployed to Syria, remains to be seen. Numerous covert action programs have been run out of Turkey and Jordan to try to combat ISIS in Syria, but as the administration conceded themselves, these programs have mostly been met with failure. Many have been shut down and others, like the New Syrian Army program, are winding down before finally becoming defunct.
Meanwhile, informed observers are left wondering if the administration is not repeating the same mistakes, bouncing from the New Syrian Army to another American invention, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which consist of an ad hoc alliance between the Kurdish YPG and elements of the notoriously unreliable Free Syrian Army. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) includes a rogues gallery of colorful characters and who they will fight with or against depends on which way the wind is blowing that particular day. The FSA even fought alongside ISIS in places like Aleppo and Kobani. The Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) is a secular and effective fighting force which has been beating back ISIS with minimal American assistance for several years, although US airstrikes have certainly helped. How these two forces will merge into the Syrian Democratic Forces is a mystery as the alliance is one of American political convenience, rather than a reflection of actual mutual interests between the two parties on the ground in Syria.