The renewed push to train and equip vetted Syrian rebels has produced about 100 fighters who are in turn training their units in battles against ISIS across Syria, said Army Col. Christopher Garver, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. Speaking during a Wednesday briefing, Garver said there are 100 fighters involved in fights in areas such as the Mara line, At-Tanf, and a new battle by the New Syrian Army to cut an ISIS supply line near the town of Abu Kamal. On Tuesday night, coalition aircraft conducted eight airstrikes in this battle to help cut the supply line, which “will impact the flow of foreign fighters and supplies” by ISIS throughout Syria and Iraq, Garver said. While there have just been 100 fighters trained so far, “it’s important to remember the impact they have when they’ve been through that training. … That person comes back from school and makes his or her unit better,” Garver said. The US restarted its training program after a failed effort last year produced just five trained rebels.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.