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US to withdraw assistance from northwest Syria   - Daily News Egypt

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US to withdraw assistance from northwest Syria  

Islamic State fighters evacuated from site close to Damascus

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that a group of fighters belonging to the Islamic State militant group (IS) were evacuated from a site close to the Syrian capital Damascus. The observatory added that vehicles entered the site at night to take the IS fighters and their families.  

Meanwhile, a US State Department official said that the US is withdrawing its assistance from northwest Syria, which is under the control of Islamist groups. The US administration will review hundreds of millions of dollars in stabilisation aid to Syria and will focus on the efforts for reconstructing the places that were retaken from IS by the US-led military coalition.

The US allocated hundreds of dollars for countering extremism and supporting independent organisations, media outlets, and education in Syria.

“Two-hundred million dollars of stabilisation assistance for Syria is currently under review at the request of the President,” the official said in a statement to CNN, adding, “distinct from that amount, US assistance for programmes 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.”

In March, US President Donald Trump froze more than $200m of the sum allocated for reconstructing Syria, while his country reviews its involvement in the Syrian conflict.

Furthermore, Trump expressed last month his desire to remove US forces from Syria, to be replaced with Arab forces, while Egypt denied its readiness to take part in such a force. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia expressed its readiness to send forces to Syria as part of a coalition.  

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