US-Trained Forces Captured in Syria

There are indications that some members of the Free Syrian forces, trained by the US military to fight ISIS, have been captured by forces loyal to the Assad regime, defense officials said Wednesday. NBC News on Tuesday reported that five rebel fighters had been captured; a Pentagon spokeswoman told Air Force Magazine the DOD does not want to get into numbers but does believe some troops were “detained” by al Nusra fighters. The US military is monitoring the situation, Cdmr. Elissa Smith said. In July, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee that three months into the train and equip mission in Syria, the US had trained only 60 Syrian rebels, because rigorous vetting standards have kept numbers low. Last week, US planes for the first time launched air strikes against suspected al Nusra forces in northern Syria, after they attacked a group of Free Syrian Army and New Syrian forces. The move marked a cha?nge in policy, though Smith said the Defense Department has always said it would “take the steps necessary” to ensure US-trained troops could be successful.