Saudi Arabia offers $100m for development projects in Syria

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FILE PHOTO: Men inspect a damaged house in Busra al-Harir town, near Deraa, Syria

Saudi Arabia says it has contributed 100 million dollars for “stabilisation projects” in areas recaptured from Islamic State militants in north-eastern Syria.

“The funds will focus on projects to restore livelihoods and essential services in the areas of health, agriculture, electricity, water, education, transportation [key roads and bridges], and rubble removal,” the Saudi embassy in Washington said in a statement.

It added that the money would help facilitate the return of Syrians displaced by the violence and ensure that Islamic State “cannot re-emerge to threaten Syria, its neighbours, or plan attacks against the international community.”

North-eastern Syria includes the city of al-Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State.

The region is mostly controlled by the Syrian Democraticc Forces (SDF), a Kurd-led militia supported by the U.S.

Saudi Arabia is a partner to a U.S.-led international coalition that has fought Islamic State in war-torn Syria since 2014.

In recent months, the radical organization has suffered setbacks and lost territory in Syria in separate campaigns by Russia-backed Syrian government forces and SDF.

Supported by Russians, al-Assad’s forces have recently regained large swathes of territory from West-backed moderate rebels and militants in different parts of the country.