President Donald Trump has ordered the freeze of $200 million funds to Syria meant for recovery in the wake of reassessment of US role in the war-torn nation. The money had been pledged by former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Kuwait this February in his meeting with the Coalition against the Islamic State.
The decision is seen to be in line with a recent Trump announcement of a US pullback from Syria especially as the fight against ISIS has reached a deadlock with only 5 percent of Syrian territory left with ISIS and they are holding to it since months without losing any further ground. A US pull-back can fuel concerns about passing the control of Syrian battlefield to Iran and Russia. Trump administration is looking ahead to pass the burden of Syrian reconstruction to its regional allies the Gulf states. US officials have signalled that any freeze in committed funds can bring the ongoing stabilisation work to a complete halt. The national security agencies were caught off-guard by the public declaration of Trump.
Trump has always stood by his America-First slogan and thus Syria is the newest entrant where the President has felt US role is nearly done and thus needs to be limited.