This is what a Syrian rebel looks like after nearly $1 million of training and equipment provided by the United States.
Pro-U.S. — and fiercely anti-Assad regime — fighter Abu Iskander is one of just 54 moderate rebels painstakingly vetted, expensively trained and equipped with fancy new weapons — at a cost of $41 million.
He and his “classmates,” known as the New Syria Force, are a key part of the U.S.’s anti-ISIS efforts. But there aren’t nearly enough of them to worry ISIS — yet.
The U.S. wants its train-and-equip scheme to help create a moderate and well-disciplined force to counter the Islamic radicals on the ground and assist moderate societies in finding a foothold in war-torn Syria.