Trump Freezes $200 Million In Syria Recovery Funds, Demands Details On Funds Usage

| April 1 , 2018 , 10:35 IST

Barely days after US President Donald Trump in a speech on March 29 hinted that the US would be withdrawing from Syria, Trump has placed a hold on more than $200 million in recovery funds for Syria this week, demanding more details on how the funds are being used. Senior State Department officials confirmed the freeze on the funds to CNN on Saturday.

The funding had been announced last month only, by the then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at an aid conference in Kuwait, with the funding to be directed towards basic infrastructure projects, such as restoring power and water and rebuilding roads.

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However, the hold on the aid isn't necessarily permanent as officials said that it would be discussed this week at senior-level interagency meetings, including a National Security Council meeting, regarding the status of the anti-ISIS campaign.

"The United States is working every day on the ground and with the international community to help stabilize those areas liberated from ISIS and identify ways to move forward with reconstruction once there has been a peaceful political transition away from (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad," a State Department statement said.

On March 29, Trump announced that the US would "be coming out of Syria like very soon", coincidently hours after the Pentagon claimed US troops needed to stay in Syria for the immediate future.

"We're knocking the hell out of ISIS. We'll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now," Trump said at an event in Ohio.

"We are going to have 100% of the caliphate, as they call it, sometimes referred to as land ... But we are going to be coming out of there real soon. We are going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be," Trump added.