US Congress allocates $156 million for fighting Islamic State in Syria
The US Congress approved the budget for the US Department of Defense for the year 2024, with a total amount of $842 billion, of which $156 million is allocated for fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
The budget includes $398 million for the Syria and Iraq Train and Equip Fund to enhance the capabilities of the Department of Defense partner forces in combating IS and providing a “safe and humanitarian” detention for its fighters, according to the US Department of Defense.
The funding for combating IS in Syria has decreased by approximately $9 million compared to 2023.
The funding for Iraq in 2024 also decreased from $322 million to $242 million compared to the current year, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency.
The defense budget is awaiting the signature of US President Joe Biden for it to become law.
Washington remains committed to “Kurdish groups”
In an interview with the former US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, he stated that the administration of President Joe Biden will not abandon the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), whom they consider local partners.
In the interview he conducted with the Turkish Anadolu Agency on Thursday, December 14, Ford explained that the Biden administration insists on keeping US forces in eastern Syria and that they need a local partner there. He considered the People’s Protection Units as the American local partner in Syria for the past ten years.
Regarding Turkey’s position, Ford emphasized that the Biden administration is aware of Turkey’s concerns about this partnership, but the White House will not change its position on this matter. The US administration believes that these “Kurdish groups” that were armed to fight IS will not contribute to the permanent elimination of the organization, citing their conflicts with Arab tribes in Deir Ezzor.
These statements were preceded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s confirmation last week that Turkey will secure areas near its borders where “terrorists” are gathered, particularly in the Tal Rifaat area in northern Syria.
Ford considered the recent rejection by the US Senate of a bill to withdraw US forces from Syria as an indication of political support for the US military presence in eastern Syria.
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