U.S. withdrawing assistance from northwest Syria

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has withdrawn all assistance from northwest Syria, CBS News reported on Friday, a move it said demonstrated that the United States intends to leave Syria quickly once Islamic State is fully defeated.

Citing unnamed administration officials, CBS said tens of millions of dollars will be cut from previous US-backed efforts including projects for "countering violent extremism, supporting independent society and independent media, strengthening education, and advocating for community policing."

The decision was made over the last few weeks after President Donald Trump asked for a review of all US assistance to Syria, CBS said.

"The US assistance in the northwestern region is viewed as not having a great impact on Syria in the long-term," CBS said.

The White House and the State Department did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

In March, two administration officials confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that said Trump had ordered the State Department to freeze more than $200 million in funds for recovery efforts in Syria while his administration reassesses Washington‘s role in the conflict there.

Trump said in a speech in Richfield, Ohio, in March that it was time for the United States to leave Syria, following allied victories against Islamic State militants. About 2,000 US troops are deployed in Syria.

In April, however, Trump deepened US involvement by ordering missile strikes against Syria in response to a poison gas attack that killed dozens of people.