Under White House orders, the US State Department has frozen funding of the White Helmets, officially known as Syrian Civil Defense. Sources close to the Trump Administration indicate that the decision to pull the US funding, which ran through the State Department's Agency for International Development (USAID) and has totaled more than $23 million to date, came as the result of mounting evidence that the group was fronting for jihadist groups, including the Islamic State. The 3,000 White Helmets operate exclusively in rebel-held territory and have served as a critical "information warfare" asset, directed out of the British Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and 10 Downing Street (See "Unmasking the White Helmets")
The State Department publicly confirmed early in May that White Helmet funding is "under active review," however, internal documents from the State Department's Bureau of Near East Affairs, indicate that the White House let an April 15 deadline pass without providing the needed authorization for the White Helmet funding to go forward. White Helmet head Raed Saleh has confirmed to US news organizations that the funding cutoff has already been started, and he admitted that "if it is a long-term or permanent halt," it will greatly damage the organization's operations.
The Pentagon has become increasingly suspicious of the White Helmets, particularly their recent claims about Syrian government chemical weapons attacks, which led to the recent US-UK-French missile strikes against three Syrian government targets.
The White Helmet funding program was part of a $211 million State Department grant to a company called Chemonics, with ties to another British government-linked organization, Crown Agents. That contract began in August 2015 and was scheduled to run through 2020.
This is an ongoing story, so stay tuned…