Citing what it called "informed Jordanian officials," WND reported Tuesday that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained by U.S. instructors at a secret base in Jordan. According to the report, the training was conducted in 2012 and was intended to help ISIS fight the Assad regime.
The officials said those receiving training were vetted for links to extremist groups like al-Qaeda.
WND first reported the training in February 2012. Since then, other media outlets have corroborated those reports. In March 2013, Reuters, citing Der Spiegel, said that some 200 men had received training. The goal was to train about 1,200 fighters of the "Free Syrian Army."
Those reports did not specify if the instructors were military or civilian, but some reportedly wore uniforms. The training, Reuters added, focused on the use of anti-tank weaponry. It is also unclear how many of those trained are now fighting in Iraq.
According to Reuters, the UK Guardian also reported the training, adding that British and French instructors participated in the U.S.-led effort. The Guardian, Reuters said, cited unnamed Jordanian security sources, who were also reportedly involved in the program, hoping to "prevent Salafists (radical Islamists) crossing from their own country into Syria and then returning later to stir up trouble in Jordan itself."
A Defense Department spokesman declined to comment on Der Spiegel's report, Reuters added. France and Britain have also refused to comment on the report.
WND said Jordanian officials spoke to them out of concerns the sectarian violence in Iraq could spill over into Jordan.
"ISIS previously posted a video on YouTube threatening to move on Jordan and “slaughter” King Abdullah, whom they view as an enemy of Islam," Aaron Klein said.
A Shiite source in contact with a highly-placed official in the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reportedly called Obama an "accomplice" in the attacks against the Maliki government and told WND that one training camp is in the vicinity of Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey, where U.S. military personnel are stationed.
Another report says the Obama administration delivered about 65,000 ready-to-eat meals, or MREs, to Sunni rebels in Aleppo, Syria. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Obama has ruled out immediate air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. The reason, WSJ said, is lack of intelligence on the ground in Iraq.
Obama is set to meet with GOP and Democratic leaders Wednesday to brief them on what is being called a "comprehensive approach" to the situation in Iraq.
“What the president is focused on is a comprehensive strategy, not just a quick military response,” said one senior administration official. “While there may potentially be a military component to it, it’s a much broader effort.”
Meanwhile, ISIS is reportedly battling Iraqi military forces on the outskirts of Baghdad.