GOP lawmaker: I'll help train Syrian refugees fight for their freedom

Pentagon considering proposing troops in Syria
Pentagon considering proposing troops in Syria

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  • "If they want their community, their home back, they need to fight for it," he said
  • Defense Department might encourage the US to send troops into northern Syria

(CNN)A Florida lawmaker who already lost two limbs fighting in Afghanistan said he is willing to help train Syrian refugees to fight for their freedom.

"You have a nation, a crumbling nation, there where there are literally over a million refugees scattered through the region that should be getting trained to come back into their nation and fight for their community," GOP Rep. Brian Mast told CNN's Alisyn Camerota Thursday on "New Day." "If they want their community, their home back, they need to fight for it."
The Defense Department might propose that the US send conventional ground combat forces into northern Syria for the first time to speed up the fight against ISIS, CNN learned Wednesday.
    "It's possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time," one defense official told CNN.
    However, the official emphasized that any decision will ultimately be up to President Donald Trump, who has ordered his defense secretary to come up with a proposal to combat ISIS before the end of the month.
    Mast said he discussed going overseas with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, to train refugees interested in going to battle themselves.
    "He and I were literally having this conversation that we would go over there and lead those refugees into the battle if that's something that was asked of us," he said. "That's just how much we believe in making sure that these people have their own vested interest in taking back their country."
    Mast lost his legs above the knees while serving in the Army in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device detonated. The Florida Republican also lost a finger.
    "I know the consequences of what I'm asking of those refugees. I know what would happen to those individuals but I would say, 'Hey, you would have our support if you're wiling to go there and act in this way and fight for your own country. We're going a have your back,' " he said.