Blinken: US to give $150m in aid for Syria, Iraq at Saudi conference on combating Daesh group

DUBAI: Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that the US would provide nearly $150 million in aid for areas in Syria and Iraq that were liberated from the Daesh extremist group.
He spoke at a ministerial conference hosted by Saudi Arabia on combating the group, which no longer controls any territory — but whose affiliates still carry out attacks across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh includes more than 80 countries and continues to coordinate action against the extremist group, which at its height controlled large parts of Syria and Iraq. Blinken said the US pledge is part of new funding amounting to more than $600 million.
“Poor security and humanitarian conditions. Lack of economic opportunity. These are the fuel for the kind of desperation on which Daesh feeds and recruits,” he said, using a common acronym for the extremist group. “So we have to stay committed to our stabilization goals.”
Blinken co-hosted the conference as part of a two-day visit to the Kingdom in which he met with senior Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Blinken also attended a meeting of Gulf foreign ministers.
The Saudis have launched wide-ranging diplomatic efforts to wind down their war in Yemen, resolve a crisis with Qatar, restore relations with archrival Iran and welcome Syria’s President Bashar Assad back into the Arab League after a 12-year boycott.

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