US effort now concentrated on supporting Kurdish factions in northeast Syria


The US has given up any role in northwest Syria, halting tens of millions of dollars for “countering violent extremism, supporting independent society and independent media, strengthening education, and advocating for community policing”.

Trump Administration officials said they will now concentrate all efforts in the northeast of the country, where Washington has influence through its backing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic forces.

“U.S. assistance for programs in northwest Syria are being freed up to provide potential increased support for priorities in northeast Syria,” a State Department official said.

The step is also a partial accommodation of Donald Trump’s wish to remove all US forces and expenditure in Syria. While the Pentagon has successfully checked Trump’s call for troop withdrawal — and put in more personnel in the northeast — Trump froze more than $200 million in funds for recovery efforts in March.

US officials insisted that the American re-allocation of funding will not affect humanitarian assistance in the northwest around opposition-held Idlib Province, where an estimated 2.5 million people — including many displaced from other areas of the country — are living under threat of overcrowding, shortages, and bombing.

The UN is warning of a “humanitarian disaster” in “one gigantic area of displacement”.

See Syria Daily, April 25: UN Officials — A “Death Trap” Looms For Civilians Amid Likely Pro-Assad Assaults

More displaced have been transferred into Idlib in recent weeks because of forced removals after the capitulations of East Ghouta near Damascus and the Rastan pocket in northern Homs Province.

One US official tried to ease the effect of the American plans by saying the funding cut will take place over months: “The danger is a repeat of what the President criticized about Iraq – leaving a vacuum where the violence can get worse and extremists can exploit that.”

New Faction Claims Explosions at Regime’s Hama Airbase

A previously-unknown faction has claimed responsibility for Friday’s explosions at the Assad regime’s Hama airbase.

“Saraya Jihad” declared that its attack had killed 50 regime personnel, destroying 100 tons of TNT and 50 tons of other explosives, kerosene containers, Tochka and Grad rockets, and aircraft.