Monday, August 03, 2015

WAR ON ISIS - Syrian Airstrikes

"Rebel commander says Americans on the ground in Syria calling in airstrikes" PBS NewsHour 7/30/2015


SUMMARY:  Special correspondent Jane Ferguson introduces us to a Free Syrian Army commander who has received training by the U.S.  The injured rebel said he's eager to rejoin the fight after U.S. and Turkey intensify their efforts against the Islamic State.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  But, first, the Pentagon has denied reports that al-Qaida linked fighters have abducted several U.S.-trained Syrian rebels outside of Aleppo, Syria.  The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated that the men were taken by members of the al-Nusra Front.

In May, the U.S. military launched a program to train up to 5,000 so-called moderate rebels per year.  So far, they’re nowhere near that number.

Special correspondent Jane Ferguson caught up with one of the few fighters who has been trained by the U.S. in Southern Turkey.

JANE FERGUSON (NewsHour):  In the world outside Syria, Mohammed seems nervous.  He has good reason.  As a Free Syrian Army commander, he and his men are waiting to see if foreign intervention will change the direction of the war.  He says he has already been trained by Americans.

MOHAMMED, Free Syrian Army Commander (through interpreter):  In the beginning, they asked for our three names, our first name, our surname, and father’s name.  We gave our names and pictures.  There were about 100 of us.  They took us to the camp.  They trained us for 50 days in working with guns.  The training was very good.  They taught us how to use some of the weapons we weren’t familiar with, advanced weaponry, like rockets.

JANE FERGUSON:  Mohammed says he has seen and spoken with Americans inside Syria who were coordinating airstrikes.

MOHAMMED (through interpreter):  They were telling us, these are the lines which you shouldn’t cross, or the airstrikes will hit you.

JANE FERGUSON:  Now a new deal between Turkey and the U.S. could push the Islamic State away from Turkey’s border.  American airstrikes against ISIS will now be launched from Turkish soil, the idea being, if ISIS pulls back, fighters like Mohammed could then move in.

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