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No more reconstruction aid to Syria if Iran stays : US

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Washington | Thursday, Oct 11 2018 IST
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the US would stop any reconstruction assistance to Syria so long as Iranian forces are present in the war-torn country.

According to Gulf News, Pompeo on Wednesday vowed to press forward with President Donald Trump's push to isolate Iran, boasting of imposing "some of the harshest sanctions in history.""The onus for expelling Iran from the country falls on the Syrian government, which bears responsibility for its presence there," he said.

"If Syria doesn't ensure the total withdrawal of Iranian-backed troops, it will not receive one single dollar from the United States for reconstruction," he added.

Pompeo's remarks come as the Trump administration shifts its reasoning for US involvement in Syria's brutal civil war, which a war monitor says has killed close to 365,000 people since 2011.

The United States has some 2,000 troops in Syria, mainly training and advising rebels, after former president Barack Obama authorised the mission to defeat Islamic State.

Pompeo said that fighting IS "continues to be a top priority" but listed rolling back Iran as another.

"Iran has seen instability in Syria as a golden opportunity to tip the regional balance of power in its favour," he added.

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