Riyadh — Saudi Arabia on Friday pledged $100m to reconstruct areas of northeastern Syria formerly held by Islamic State (IS), in a move sharply criticised by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The country said the €88m contribution would go towards a US-backed campaign to "stabilise" the one-time IS bastion and to help ensure the jihadists cannot re-emerge as a threat. The government in Damascus slammed the contribution as "morally unacceptable", in a statement carried by the official Sana news agency. A longtime foe of Riyadh, it accused Saudi Arabia’s royal family of supporting "terrorism and those who contributed to the killing of the people of Syria and the destruction of its infrastructure". IS declared a "caliphate" after seizing swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014, but has since been ousted from most of that territory including its former de facto Syrian capital Raqa and a pocket of Damascus.

Saudi Arabia, the US’s most powerful Arab ally, is a member of the US-led Globa...

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