On August 16, the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., announced in an official statement that Saudi Arabia has contributed $100 million dollars for the US-led coalition stabilization projects in the areas liberated from ISIS in northeast Syria.
“This is the largest Coalition contribution to date for these liberated areas, and follows the pledge made by Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir during the July 12, 2018 Global Coalition Ministerial Conference in Brussels, hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” the Saudi Embassy said in its statement.
Most of northeastern Syria is currently under the control of the US-led coalition and its ally, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The U.S. Department of State welcomed the Saudi contribution in an official statement and noted that the coalition’s “recovery programming” is critical to ensure that ISIS cannot reemerge and use Syria as a base to threaten the region.
“This contribution follows the request from President Trump for partners to share the burden of promoting stability in Syria to safeguard the military gains achieved against ISIS and secure the enduring defeat of ISIS,” the U.S. Department of State statement reads.
Earlier this year, U.S. President Donald Trump expressed his will to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and said that Saudi Arabia might have to pay if it wants continuing U.S. presence in the war torn country.
“Saudi Arabia is very interested in our decision, and I said, ‘Well, you know, you want us to stay, maybe you’re going to have to pay,” Trump said on April 4, according to the al-Jazeera TV.
This contribution confirms that Saudi Arabia has submitted to Trump’s demands. The oil-rich kingdom views the U.S. military presence in Syria as a useful tool to counter Iran’s influence in the region.