US withdrawing aid from northwest Syria

The United States is withdrawing assistance from northwest Syria as the Trump administration reviews hundreds of mill...

Posted: May 20, 2018 5:27 PM
Updated: May 20, 2018 5:27 PM

The United States is withdrawing assistance from northwest Syria as the Trump administration reviews hundreds of millions of dollars in stabilization aid to Syria, a State Department official has told CNN.

The withdrawal of assistance comes as the US-led military coalition battles the remaining elements of ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley along the Syrian border of Iraq.

"Two-hundred million dollars of stabilization assistance for Syria is currently under review at the request of the President," the official said in a statement to CNN. "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."

While the US-led coalition has cleared the country's northwestern region of ISIS, al Qaeda-linked groups such as the Nusra Front still maintain a foothold there, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has been consolidating gains in territory there that it had lost to rebel forces, raising questions about what the US withdrawal of aid will mean for Syria's future.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said it is time for Arab allies in the region to take responsibility for Syria in order to allow the United States to focus on priorities on the home front. But there is concern that a withdrawal of US development and reconstruction aid could curtail American influence to reach an outcome in line with longer-term US interests.

The development ultimately could benefit "the Russians and other actors in that region, like the Iranians," by allowing them more influence in the long-term, said retired Air Force Col. Cedric Leighton, a CNN military analyst.

The lack of US involvement in northwest Syria could also give terrorist groups like the Nusra Front a base from which to mount terror operations and exploit the volatile political situation to their benefit, Leighton said.

CBS News first reported the withdrawal of the aid.

The move to review stabilization efforts across Syria could also complicate the effort to assist in the country's reconstruction and any related leverage over a political solution to the civil war.

"It is clear that Russia's interests in Syria are Russia's interest and not those of the wider international community," Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversees US military operations across the Middle East as head of US Central Command, told a congressional committee earlier this year.

Trump said last month he was eyeing a conclusion of the US military campaign in Syria, where about 2,000 troops are working to finish off the remaining elements of ISIS.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford have both warned against a hasty withdrawal from Syria like the 2011 pull-out from Iraq that helped create the conditions that allowed ISIS to take over a sizable portion of the country in 2014.

There is also concern about how US military allies on the ground in Syria, who were instrumental in reclaiming ISIS-held territory, would view a precipitous withdrawal of US investment in Syria.

Such a move would "reverberate for decades to come that the United States is not a trusted partner," Leighton said, adding that US commitments in the region could be seen as temporary, thereby "limiting the ability of the United States to project power" in the region going forward.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57956

Reported Deaths: 2927
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10410429
Cuyahoga7883373
Hamilton6019198
Lucas2752302
Marion273438
Pickaway219741
Summit2143206
Montgomery203427
Mahoning1832232
Butler159944
Columbiana130760
Stark1123112
Lorain103567
Trumbull96770
Warren86021
Clark7669
Delaware58215
Fairfield57216
Tuscarawas56710
Belmont54922
Medina52332
Lake50018
Licking49312
Miami46631
Portage44258
Ashtabula43544
Wood42851
Clermont4146
Geauga40742
Wayne36351
Richland3455
Allen32141
Mercer2829
Greene2589
Darke25125
Erie24422
Holmes2363
Huron2202
Madison1978
Ottawa14923
Sandusky13614
Crawford1355
Washington13520
Putnam12815
Ross1273
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Coshocton1112
Auglaize1074
Monroe8917
Jefferson882
Union861
Muskingum831
Hancock791
Hocking788
Guernsey743
Preble731
Lawrence710
Williams712
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Athens591
Carroll593
Wyandot596
Brown571
Defiance513
Knox511
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto410
Champaign401
Perry351
Van Wert350
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding250
Adams241
Jackson230
Pike230
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 91°
Angola
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 91°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
94° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 98°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Van Wert
Broken Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Hot Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events