Saudi offers $100 million to US-backed Syria drive

People take part in a biking tour in Damascus. Image Reuters

This work is essential to getting the areas ready for Syrian refugees to return home.

Officials were quick to add that the loss in funding will be quickly matched by up to $300 million dollars in aid from other coalition partners, including Saudi Arabia.

"Very soon, very soon, we're coming out", he said at the time.

Nauert, along with David Satterfield, the acting assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, and Brett McGurk, the special envoy for the anti-IS coalition, told reporters on a conference call that the USA would remain active in Syria until the Islamic State has been defeated.

The U.S., McGurk said, has not yet launched the final phase to defeat the ISIS caliphate.


The U.S. has been clear with Russian Federation that no reconstruction efforts will begin until the United Nations certifies that a credible irreversible political process is underway. The president made the announcement Friday, informing Congress he was ending the stabilization efforts now underway in the war-torn country. Almost all of that money, initially pledged by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in February, had been on hold and under review since he was sacked in March. A small fraction of that amount was released in June.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the contribution followed the request from President Donald Trump for partners "to share the burden of promoting stability in Syria to safeguard the military gains" achieved against IS and to secure its defeat.

President Trump made his intentions clear earlier this year when he declared the USA forces would be pulling out of Syria "very soon", saying they would be coming back to the US where they belong. Consequently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has authorized the department to "redirect" the USA funding, following a monthslong review of the spending plans. However, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert explained to reporters that the USA would remain active in Syria until the Islamic State had been defeated.

This funding included $100 million from Saudi Arabia.

Last month, the US helped to organize the evacuation through Israel of White Helmet workers from Syria's south, where Assad's Russian-backed forces launched a new offensive despite a de-escalation agreement between Washington and Moscow.

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