On May 19, an unnamed US official told CBC News that the Trump administration will withdraw its assistance from the opposition-held areas in northwestern Syria, which include Idlib governorate and parts of Aleppo, Lattakia and Hama governorates.
According to CBC News, tens of millions of dollars will be cut from US efforts in northwestern Syria, including projects for “countering violent extremism, supporting independent society and independent media, strengthening education, and advocating for community policing.”
The official revealed to CBC News that the decision to cut off these funds was made through an inter-agency process over the last few weeks. According to the official, these funds will likely be focused on supporting the stabilization of northeastern Syria, the stronghold of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
“$200 million of stabilization assistance for Syria is currently under review at the request of the President. Distinct from that amount, U.S. assistance for programs in northwest Syria are being freed up to provide potential increased support for priorities in northeast Syria, as will be determined by the outcome of the ongoing assistance review, including the D-ISIS campaign and stabilization efforts,” an unnamed official of the US State Department told CBS News.
Another US official told Reuters that humanitarian assistance for northwestern Syria will not be affected by this decision. The source also confirmed that the humanitarian assistance for Idlib governorate will continue, despite that most of it is controlled by the former branch of al-Qaeda Hay’at Tahrir al-Sahm (HTS).
US President Donald Trump froze more than $200 million in funds for recovery efforts in Syria on March 30. Local observers believe that these steps are aimed at limiting the US influence in Syria to the areas that are directly dominated by US-backed forces.