"...The president’s enthusiasm for that approach soon cooled again. A week after the meeting with the two senators, Mr. Obama seized on a proposal by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, aimed at forcing the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons stockpiles. That effort, adopted by the Security Council in late September, appears to have overshadowed the arming project.
While the training mission in Jordan continues, officials now say there is no immediate plan to drastically expand it under the Pentagon’s control. The White House appears to be concerned that a public effort might undermine the diplomatic initiative to remove Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles and convene a peace conference. Mr. Assad, meanwhile, told a Lebanese newspaper in mid-October that he was happy to trade his chemical arsenal, which he dismissed as “obsolete,” in order to “spare Syria” from aggression by the United States.
During his Senate confirmation hearing this month, the Obama administration’s nominee to run special operations policy at the Pentagon was asked whether the rebel training program — currently run by the C.I.A. — might significantly change the balance of power in Syria.
The nominee, Michael D. Lumpkin, a former member of the Navy SEALs, was candid in his answer.
It would not, he said. ..."