US withdrawing aid from northwest Syria

The United States is withdrawing assistance from northwest Syria as the Trump administration reviews hundreds of mill...

Posted: May 20, 2018 4:27 PM
Updated: May 20, 2018 4:27 PM

The United States is withdrawing assistance from northwest Syria as the Trump administration reviews hundreds of millions of dollars in stabilization aid to Syria, a State Department official has told CNN.

The withdrawal of assistance comes as the US-led military coalition battles the remaining elements of ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley along the Syrian border of Iraq.

"Two-hundred million dollars of stabilization assistance for Syria is currently under review at the request of the President," the official said in a statement to CNN. "Distinct from that amount, U.S. assistance for programs 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, including the D-ISIS campaign and stabilization efforts."

While the US-led coalition has cleared the country's northwestern region of ISIS, al Qaeda-linked groups such as the Nusra Front still maintain a foothold there, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has been consolidating gains in territory there that it had lost to rebel forces, raising questions about what the US withdrawal of aid will mean for Syria's future.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said it is time for Arab allies in the region to take responsibility for Syria in order to allow the United States to focus on priorities on the home front. But there is concern that a withdrawal of US development and reconstruction aid could curtail American influence to reach an outcome in line with longer-term US interests.

The development ultimately could benefit "the Russians and other actors in that region, like the Iranians," by allowing them more influence in the long-term, said retired Air Force Col. Cedric Leighton, a CNN military analyst.

The lack of US involvement in northwest Syria could also give terrorist groups like the Nusra Front a base from which to mount terror operations and exploit the volatile political situation to their benefit, Leighton said.

CBS News first reported the withdrawal of the aid.

The move to review stabilization efforts across Syria could also complicate the effort to assist in the country's reconstruction and any related leverage over a political solution to the civil war.

"It is clear that Russia's interests in Syria are Russia's interest and not those of the wider international community," Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversees US military operations across the Middle East as head of US Central Command, told a congressional committee earlier this year.

Trump said last month he was eyeing a conclusion of the US military campaign in Syria, where about 2,000 troops are working to finish off the remaining elements of ISIS.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford have both warned against a hasty withdrawal from Syria like the 2011 pull-out from Iraq that helped create the conditions that allowed ISIS to take over a sizable portion of the country in 2014.

There is also concern about how US military allies on the ground in Syria, who were instrumental in reclaiming ISIS-held territory, would view a precipitous withdrawal of US investment in Syria.

Such a move would "reverberate for decades to come that the United States is not a trusted partner," Leighton said, adding that US commitments in the region could be seen as temporary, thereby "limiting the ability of the United States to project power" in the region going forward.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
Lowndes7199152
Lafayette6631125
Washington5661140
Pearl River5357154
Oktibbeha503198
Bolivar5004134
Warren4817128
Panola4812112
Marshall4739106
Pontotoc452473
Hancock440388
Neshoba4401181
Union438979
Monroe4369138
Lincoln4228116
Pike3739114
Leflore3676125
Alcorn355374
Tate354988
Sunflower351094
Adams347490
Scott346677
Yazoo342977
Copiah330869
Simpson327191
Itawamba317281
Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
Prentiss302563
Covington302384
Marion289882
Leake288676
Wayne280945
George277351
Grenada272188
Newton266864
Tishomingo240770
Winston238084
Stone235338
Jasper234748
Attala228674
Chickasaw221460
Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
Etowah15060370
Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 65°
Columbus
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 65°
Oxford
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 66°
Thursday will start off once again in the unseasonably cool 60s. We will top off just a few degrees warmer on out Thursday, in comparison to our Wednesday. Most of the high temperatures will be in the lower 90s.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather