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Training Syrians to Combat ISIL
Congressman Mac Thornberry, Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement on the McKeon Amendment, authorizing the U.S. to train and equip Syrians to fight ISIL:
“The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) presents a significant danger to the United States, our friends, and allies. They are the best-equipped, best-trained, and best-funded terrorist organization we have faced. In addition, they have thousands of fighters with Western passports who can easily travel to the U.S. and Europe.
"This threat will not be eliminated solely from the air; it will require competent ground forces to defeat it. Allowing the military to train Syrians to be part of that ground force makes sense. The McKeon Amendment also places clear restrictions on the Administration’s authority, is time-limited, and strengthens Congress’s oversight by requiring detailed progress reports and stringent vetting of Syrian forces for training.
"Of course, training Syrians is only one part of what must be a larger strategy. The responsibility rests with the President as Commander-in-Chief to implement that strategy, gather allies in the effort, and see that it works to protect the vital security interests of the United States."
The McKeon Amendment passed the House by a vote of 273 to 156.