Trump freezes funds for YPG-held areas in Syria: Report
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
United States President Donald Trump has ordered the U.S. Department of State to freeze more than $200 million in funds for recovery efforts in Syria’s People’s Protection Units (YPG)-held areas, according to a report on March 30.
U.S. 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 on March 29 that the U.S. would “very soon” withdraw from Syria.
The Wall Street Journal said the shift comes as the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) “has stalled.”
The money was initially pledged by departing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in February during a meeting in Kuwait of the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition.
The U.S. president told supporters in a speech in Ohio the U.S. 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 said.
That declaration seemed to catch members of Trump’s own administration off guard, with the State Department admitting it was unaware of any policy change to pull the U.S. out of Syria.
There are about 2,000 American troops in Syria as part of the anti-ISIL coalition.