While the president has justified his plan to arm and train "moderate" Syrian armed groups on the grounds that it would counter the growth of the Islamic State, it will likely have the exact opposite effect. Further funding for "moderate" Syrian opposition groups will embolden IS and risk widening the brutal Syrian war.
The White House formally submitted its $500 million request to Congress on June 26. The money would go to train and equip "appropriately vetted" members of the Syrian opposition. That's a lot different from "moderate rebel forces," and it is yet another indication that we simply do not know who the "moderates" are in Syria.
As an American citizen who one day hopes to become a public servant and who frequently monitors our nation's foreign policy, I continue to wish you and your colleagues in the State Department, Pentagon, and intelligence community the best of luck. America's security depends on the efforts that you make in the weeks ahead.
Syrian opposition forces have won a number of significant military victories in Idlib governorate in recent days. Practically speaking, this string of victories will advance a long-term opposition military strategy aimed at posing an increased threat to the government's control of Idlib city and Hama governorate.