11:39 GMT28 October 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US decision to redirect $230 million away from stabilization efforts in Syria will allow Russia and Iran to strengthen their support for President Bashar Assad, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez said in a press release on Friday.

    Earlier in the day, the State Department announced it was redirecting $230 million in Syria stabilization funding towards other foreign policy priorities yet to be determined.

    "Worse yet, [Trump] is rolling out the red carpet for Russia and Iran who will seize the vacuum of US presence and assistance to double down on their support of the Assad regime," Menendez said.

    Syria without the stability funding, Menendez added, will also remain a threat to Israel’s security.

    State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in a press release on Friday said the US government will continue to fund White Helmet operations in Syria.

    This decision, Nauert added, does not represent a change in Washington’s commitment to its goals in the Middle Eastern country.

    In a separate conference call with reporters, Nauert said former US Ambassador to Iraq Jim Jeffrey has been appointed to serve as Representative for Syrian Engagement.

    During the same call, a state department official said the United States has made it clear to Russia that no reconstruction funding for Syria will be provided until the UN validates that an irreversible political process is underway.


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