Saudi Arabia says it's given $100 million to northeast Syria

A woman walks past the remnants of destroyed buildings in the city of Aleppo Syria on Aug. 16 2018

A woman walks past the remnants of destroyed buildings in the city of Aleppo Syria on Aug. 16 2018. Sergei Grits AP REX Shutterstock

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has "redirected" the funds originally set aside to help the recovery of areas liberated from Daesh control after coalition partners committed $300 million of their own, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary David Satterfield said the United States and other countries would not contribute to Syria's full reconstruction until there was a "credible and irreversible" political process underway to end the conflict.

An official source at the Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry told SANA, "The Saudi authorities, who are plotters against the interests of the Arab nation, have pledged Dollars 100 million to the worldwide coalition led by Washington, in defiance of the UN Security Council resolutions related to the crisis in Syria".

"We are remaining in Syria", McGurk said Friday, when asked about the perception that the U.S.is pulling away.

However, U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly ordered in March a hold on the funds, demanding more information on how the money is being used, and urging other countries to step up to the plate and pay more.

Nauert also stated that in a bid to reassure coalition partners and other opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Pompeo appointed veteran diplomatic troubleshooter, James Jeffrey, to be a special envoy for Syria. However, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert explained to reporters that the US would remain active in Syria until the Islamic State had been defeated.

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For example, he said, potable water supplies have been restored to all 26 districts of Raqa, which was devastated in the campaign to oust ISIS fighters.

Jeffrey, a former USA ambassador to Turkey, Iraq and Albania who also served as a deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush, will hold the title of "special representative for Syrian engagement" and will report to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Brett McGurk, the special White House envoy to the coalition against ISIS, said the extremist group has been cleared from some 99 per cent of its former territory in Syria and that preparations for the final phase of the campaign are being made. "We are remaining in Syria". Jeffrey, who retired in 2012, also holds the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service: career ambassador.

Syria on Friday denounced Saudi financial support to the US-led global coalition's role in northern Syria, stressing that such move indicates Riyadh's compliance with the USA administration at the expense of the Saudi people. ISIS is an alternate acronym for the militant group.

The development comes as the United States 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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