Published: Mon, August 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Taiwan pledges US$1 million to stabilization efforts in Syria

Taiwan pledges US$1 million to stabilization efforts in Syria

Saudi Arabia said on Friday that it has contributed $100 million to northeast Syria for "stabilization projects" in areas once held by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) group and now controlled by US-backed forces.

The department said it has secured approximately $300 million in contributions and pledges from allies since April.

The State Department said that money does not include humanitarian aid, which the US will continue supporting.

"Lack of US leadership=Undercutting US interests in Syria and around the world".

The statement pointed out that a number of coalition partners have made pledges and contributions in recent months and the U.S. appreciates all partners who supported this important effort, indicating that Saudi Arabia has been a leading partner in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS from the very beginning.

The State Department said it had notified Congress on Friday that it would not spend some $230 million that had been planned for Syria programs and would instead shift that money to other areas.

Washington also welcomed Saudi Arabia's contribution of $100 million to Syria.

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USA officials said they were able to make the $230 million reduction because they had raised $300 million for recovery efforts in northeastern Syria from other countries, which were part of the coalition battling ISIS militants in the area.

The Trump administration is ending funding for Syria stabilization projects as it moves to extricate itself from the conflict.

President Donald Trump froze the funds in March while his administration reassessed Washington's role in the Syrian conflict, saying he wanted the leave Syria. IS militants have been nearly entirely eliminated from that region, which is controlled by a hodgepodge of other extremist groups and government forces.

Around $6.6m from the pledged amount was released in June to continue funding for the White Helmets, a voluntary civil defence organisation rescuing people after air strikes.

Taiwan has been committed to the stabilization efforts in Syria since 2014, when Taiwan became a member of the US -led Global Coalition To Defeat ISIS, Lee told CNA.

The enduring defeat of ISIS is a top priority of this Administration and of the State Department.

The development comes as the U.S. helped to organize the evacuation through Israel of ISIL-linked White Helmet workers last month from Syria's south, where Syrian forces launched a new offensive against the remnants of the terror group.

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