After US, UK stops funding militants amid Syria victory
After the US, the UK is to stop funding militants in Syria amid a growing government push to retake the last militant-held areas in the Arab country.
“As the situation on the ground in some regions has become increasingly difficult, we have reduced support for some of our non-humanitarian programming,” a UK government spokeswoman said on Sunday, quoted by Reuters.
The British daily The Guardian reported Monday that the funding for the so-called Free Syria Police (FSP) is set to come to an end in September. The force was set up after 2011, when foreign-backed militancy started ravaging Syria.
Syria, which has recently liberated the southern provinces of Dara’a, Sweida, and Quneitra, is turning its focus to the last stronghold of militants in the northwestern Idlib Province.
‘UK accepting militants’ defeat’
The Guardian said Britain’s decision to end support for militants shows the country “has accepted that the Syrian opposition, which it has backed since the early days of the civil war in 2012 to 2013, is facing imminent defeat.”
The decision came after a BBC Panorama investigation broadcast last December revealed that the British cash used to form a “police force” in militant-held areas in Syria was being diverted to extremist groups.
According to the report, “officers” from the force had been caught cooperating with militant groups.
The program said “police officers” in Idlib had to be approved by al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s Syria offshoot, and that similar militants in the neighboring Aleppo Province had been forced to hand over cash to Nour al-Din al-Zinki, another Takfiri group.
Earlier this year, the US told the so-called Free Syrian Army militant group that they could no longer rely on Washington’s support which had been trickling since 2011 as the army launched an operation which resulted in the liberation of the southern provinces.
On Friday, it was reported that Washington had also cut its $230 million funding for the so-called Syria stabilization projects, citing increased contributions from the Saudi Arabian regime and other allies.