Rebuild Syria efforts garner $300 million

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This photo from Syria shows the devastation toll the war has had on the country. ©

In order to rebuild Syria, U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded that allies contribute to the cost of the war effort, including stabilizing and rebuilding parts of Syria that have been retaken from the Islamic State.

Of the $300 million secured to this end, the U.S. States Department said it would redirect $230 million in frozen funding for Syria to other unspecified foreign policy priorities. The said amount was frozen by Trump in March 2018 when he had threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the brutal 7-year-old conflict.

In its efforts to rebuild Syria, the Trump administration has named Jim Jeffrey, a veteran U.S. diplomat who is also a former ambassador to Iraq, as Mike Pompeo’s adviser for Syria. Pompeo is the U.S. Secretary of State. Jeffrey’s role will include overseeing the U.S. role in talks aimed at a political transition in Syria.

Although earlier, the U.S Administration had insisted on the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Washington now appears to have accepted the position that Assad could remain in power until the end of his presidential term in 2021.

With the United States conducting moping up operations against the last remnants of Islamic militants, efforts to rebuild Syria are sprouting. Brett McGurk who was the U.S. special envoy to the coalition fighting against Daesh will continue to be in his role as U.S.-coalition forces clean up the area around Hajin, a town in eastern Syria.

“We still have not launched the final phase to defeat the physical Caliphate. That is actually being prepared now and will come at a time of our choosing, but it’s coming,” said McGurk, the U.S. special presidential envoy overseeing the fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

These mop up operations are crucial to the efforts to rebuild Syria since David Satterfield, the acting U.S. Assistant Secretary has made it lucidly clear that countries, including the U.S., would not contribute to Syria’s full reconstruction until there was a “credible and irreversible” political process underway to end the conflict.

“There is not going to be by international agreement reconstruction assistance to Syria unless the U.N. … validates that a credible and irreversible political process is underway,” said Satterfield.

He went on to add, the Syrian and the Russian and Syrian governments want international funding to rebuild Syria.

According to McGurk, countries which have participated in the rebuilding effort incudes, the European Union, France, Germany, Australia, Taiwan, Denmark, Kuwait, among others. While the United Arab Emirates had pledged $50 million in donations to stabilizing programs, Saudi Arabia had contributed $100 million.

According to a report by ESCWA, an agency for Arab countries of the United Nations, the volume of destruction of Syria’s physical capital and its sectoral distribution exceeds $388 billion.