September 18th, 2014
09:45 AM ET

Former Syrian Rebel Leader Speaks Out

The House approved President Obama's plan to arm and train Syrian rebels yesterday and the Senate may vote as early as today on the same measure.

But who are these fighters that may get funding and weapons and can they defeat ISIS on the ground?

On "New Day" Thursday, we spoke with a former general of the Free Syrian Army, Salim Idriss, on whether the FSA is strong enough to defeat ISIS and continue to battle the Assad regime.

Idriss feels confident the FSA can take on both targets, despite the fact he himself was voted out of power from the FSA for suggesting the rebel group work with the U.S. against ISIS in the past.

He said there will be no problem for the forces to fight both targets because "They know that ISIS is a big danger – at this time it is more dangerous than the regime itself.”

The rebel leader said the group will need resources and training to be able to battle ISIS but agreed with President Obama that U.S. ground troops are not needed.

“We just need the support,” he said.

Idriss had confidence that with the help, the FSA "can train many, many groups at the same time" in Syria, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo that they could train 5,000 more troops in about two months.

For context, that number would double the force as it stands now.

“It is important now to train the fighters, to unify them,” he said.

“And to force them to work under a central command.”


Do you support President Obama’s plan to arm and train the Syrian rebels as a means to defeat ISIS on the ground? Let us know what you think.



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