WorldAssad regime embezzled millions of dollars in international aid

Assad regime embezzled millions of dollars in international aid

Bashar al-Assad’s regime has developed an elaborate scheme to obtain tens of millions of dollars in financial and humanitarian aid provided to Syria by Western countries through the UN. This is stated in a report published on Wednesday by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

“Western governments, despite the sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have become one of the largest sources of hard currency for the regime,” the authors of the report state.

According to the investigation, Assad’s scheme involves the involvement of the Central Bank of Syria, which is officially under US sanctions, in order to force the UN agencies to use a “distorted” exchange rate. This allowed the Damascus regime to appropriate 51 cents for every dollar spent in 2020, the CSIS report said.

It is noted that in 2020 UN agencies spent about $ 113 million on the purchase of aid for Syria, which made it possible to redirect about $ 60 million to the regime’s treasury.

CSIS examined purchases made in 2019 and 2020 and identified contracts that were likely paid in Syrian pounds, depending on the location of the contractors. The total amount of “diverted” funds reaches $ 100 million when combining data for both years. At the same time, the reporters note that the amount may be underestimated, since it includes only official UN operations, and not the operations of international NGOs.

“Donor governments say they have a strategy to help the Syrian people in the face of a repressive government. But while striving to help those suffering from the rule of the Syrian government, they are simultaneously helping the government that is causing this suffering, ”the authors of the report conclude.

The Anadolu Agency’s website publishes in a shortened form . .(HAS).