Getty Images / Thaer Ghanaim

Putin Knocks U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebels

President Vladimir Putin discussed Russian involvement in Syria and U.S. efforts to train the country's moderate opposition.

By Elizabeth Hagedorn | September 28, 2015

The U.S. program to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels isn't exactly going as planned, and Vladimir Putin has taken notice. 

“It turns out that just 60 were properly trained, only four or five with weapons are fighting, while the rest of them simply took the American weapons and ran over to join ISIS,” Putin said on 60 Minutes. 

In an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, the Russian president called the U.S. support of the Syrian opposition illegal, and scoffed at U.S. involvement. 

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The Pentagon has come under fire — not just from Putin — for it's apparent failure to train enough Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. The $500 million program has produced nowhere near the 5,000 fighters it was supposed to. 

"It's a small number. The ones that are in the fight... we're talking four or five," Gen. Llyod Austin said. 

During his interview with 60 Minutes, Putin reaffirmed his support for Syria's dictator, President Bashar al-Assad, who the U.S. and other western power accuse of war crimes. (Video via Syrian Presidency

The issue will no doubt come up Monday, when President Obama and Putin meet face-to-face Monday at the United Nations General Assembly — their first meeting in about a year. (Video via The White House)

This video includes an image from Getty Images. 

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