Lawmakers slam US strategy in Syria

General Lloyd Austin, commander of US Central Command, testifies before Senate Armed Services Committee about the ongoing US military operations to counter the Islamic State group on Capitol Hill on September 16, 2015 in Washington, DCSenior US lawmakers on Wednesday blasted defense officials over America’s strategy against the Islamic State group, and vented outrage over allegations military officials “cooked” intelligence to overstate coalition successes in Syria. Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee were astonished to learn a half-billion-dollar program to train moderate Syrian rebels had gotten off to a disastrous start, and said it was time to implement “safe zones” over parts of Syria to prevent forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad from dropping barrel bombs. The hearing came as President Barack Obama’s administration draws criticism over US-led efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State group, which despite dozens of daily air strikes maintains control over parts of Iraq and Syria and has affiliates across the region from Lebanon to Yemen, Libya and Egypt.

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