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Trump freezes funds for YPG/PKK-held areas in Syria

March 31, 2018 at 3:22 pm

US President Donald Trump [Gage Skidmore/Flickr]

President Donald Trump has ordered the State Department to freeze more than $200 million in funds for recovery efforts in Syria’s YPG/PKK held areas, according to a report yesterday.

US officials told the Wall Street Journal newspaper that the Trump administration “reassesses Washington’s broader role in the protracted conflict there.”

Officials also told the newspaper the White House ordered the State Department to put spending on hold following Trump’s surprise announcement Thursday that the US would “very soon” withdraw from Syria.

The Journal said the shift comes as the fight against Daesh “has stalled”.

The money was initially pledged by departing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in February during a meeting in Kuwait of the US -led anti-Daesh coalition.

The president told supporters in a speech in Ohio the US would “be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.”

“We’re going to have 100 percent of the caliphate, as they call it — sometimes referred to as land. We’re taking it all back quickly,” he added.

That declaration seemed to catch off guard members of Trump’s own administration, with the State Department admitting it was unaware of any policy change to pull the US out of Syria.

There are about 2,000 American troops in Syria as part of the anti-Daesh coalition.