UK money in Syria diverted to Daesh: Report
Millions of pounds of British money channeled to Syria as so-called aid may have ended up in the hands of Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, a UK government report says.
The revelation was made in the December report titled “Assessment of financial risk and fraud” by the Department for International Development (DFID), a British government institution responsible for administering foreign spending, the Mail reported on Sunday.
The money that ends up in Daesh hands came from what London claims to be financial support sent to the war-stricken country.
The UK government has long been providing military and financial aid to the so-called “moderate” militants operating to topple the government in Syria over the past five years.
The DFID conceded that “the most serious risk” to its programs in Syria is “from the large scale diversion of aid, including for the purposes of terrorism.”
The value of the money that may have ended up in Daesh hands is about one percent of the total £510 million of British aid that has gone to Syria since 2011, but this still could represent some £5.1 million.
Commenting on the report, MP Andrew Bridgen said that Britons “would be horrified to learn that any of their generously given aid had gone to the death cult” Daesh.
Analyzing the £26.5 million contribution to a humanitarian project run by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the DFID also warned of “a high risk of corruption and fraud,” adding, however, that the UN “had robust procedures” to deal with the problem.
This is not the first time that the DFID has acknowledged diversion in its foreign aid.
Back in 2013, the DFID admitted that almost £500,000 of its aid and equipment had reached the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants based in Somalia.
The latest revelation is expected to intensify pressure on British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has pledged to commit 0.7 percent of Britain’s gross national product on overseas aid.
Syria has been gripped by a deadly turmoil since March 2011. Damascus says Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are the main supporters of the militants fighting the government forces.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has furthermore displaced over half of Syria’s pre-war population of about 23 million.
British authorities say at least 800 UK nationals have traveled to Syria and Iraq to support or fight alongside the Takfiri terror groups operating there.