Washington to train 3,500 more Syrian fighters in 2023
According to the funding request released in April, the primary purpose of the additional recruits would be to "recruit and train new detention facility guard forces" for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The total number of fighters to receive US assistance would be 19,500 in 2023, according to the document. In addition to prison guards, recruits would "conduct clearance operations" and give commando companies and anti-terror forces training in anti-insurgency operations.
The Pentagon sought $US 28.7 million in additional funding for its 2023 anti-IS operation in Syria, bringing the total amount to $US 183.7 million.
The SDF, a Kurdish-led militia which controls northeastern Syria, oversee detention centres containing tens of thousands of individuals suspected or proven to have links to the so-called Islamic State (IS).
Despite calling for international assistance in dealing with these individuals, the SDF has largely been left to deal with the problem on its own.
In January, a few hundred IS fighters attacked one of these detention centres – al-Sina prison – and a multi-day battle ensued between the SDF and their US backers. Analysts said the assault highlighted the sustainability of keeping thousands of suspected fighters in indefinite detention.
The US Department of Defense said it expects to "expand capacity and capability of the ISIS detention facility guard force" in the next two years.