Britain ends funding for some aid to Syrian rebels

British government announces it is ending funding for some aid programs in rebel-held areas of Syria.

Ben Ariel,

British Prime Minister Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May

The British government announced on Sunday night it was ending funding for some aid programs in rebel-held areas of Syria, Reuters reported.

"As the situation on the ground in some regions has become increasingly difficult, we have reduced support for some of our non-humanitarian programming, but continue to deliver vital support to help those most in need and to improve security and stability in the country," a UK government spokeswoman told the news agency in an emailed statement.

The Times newspaper had earlier reported that the attempt to create an independent police force would be scrapped from September, while projects funding local councils were being reviewed and would likely be halted by the end of the financial year.

The report added that the Foreign Office and Department for International Development had determined the aid programs in the northwestern parts of Syria to be "unsustainable".

The British government said it had spent 152 million pounds ($193.85 million) on humanitarian programs in Syria for the financial year 2017-2018.

The announcement follows one from the U.S. State Department, which said on Friday it will redirect $230 million in frozen funding away from Syria.

In June, Washington told the main Syrian rebel factions, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), they should not expect military support to help them resist a major government offensive to regain opposition-held parts of southern Syria.

The conflict in Syria has killed an estimated half a million people, driven more than 5.5 million people out of the country and displaced over 6.5 million within it.

In 2011, the United States adopted a policy that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad must leave power. But Washington and its Western allies, including Britain, have subsequently watched Assad's forces, backed by Iran and then Russia, claw back territory and secure his position.