US will step up its activities in the Kurdish-populated northeastern Syria


The administration of President Donald Trump will step up its activities in the Kurdish-populated northeastern Syria, reinforcing fears of the Arab country’s partition and mounting tensions with Turkey

The unidentified officials said on Friday that the US government had decided to shift its focus from terrorist-held northwestern Syria to the Kurdish-inhabited northeast

CBS News quoted the officials as saying that the decision was made over the last few weeks following Trump’s call for a review of all US operations in Syria

Tens of millions of dollars will be cut from previous US programs, including projects for “countering violent extremism, supporting independent society and independent media, strengthening education, and advocating for community policing,” CBS reported

A State Department official told Reuters, “US assistance for programs in northwest Syria are being freed up to provide potential increased support for priorities in northeast Syria

A second source also noted that Washington wanted to move the assistance to the areas in Syria where the US had more control

US officials, however, claimed that “humanitarian assistance” would not be affected in northwestern Syria around Idlib Province, the last major stronghold for Takfiri militants in the country

Washington has stepped up its alliance with Kurdish forces active in Syria despite opposition by Turkey that is worried about the formation of an autonomous Kurdish state on its borders