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UN Humanitarian aid propped by Assad regime

Civilians who fled from the attacks of the Assad regime are seen in a refugee camp in Idlib, Syria on 5 December 2020 [Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency]
Civilians who fled from the attacks of the Assad regime are seen in a refugee camp in Idlib, Syria on 5 December 2020 [Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency]

The Syrian government draws off millions of dollars of foreign aid by forcing UN agencies to use a lower exchange rate, according to new research, The Guardian reports.

According to the report, research conducted by Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) says that the Central Bank of Syria, in effect, made $60 million in 2020 by pocketing $0.51 of every aid dollar sent to Syria.

The Central Bank is sanctioned by the UK, US and EU, the report says.

The report highlighted that hundreds of UN contracts to procure goods and services for people living in government-held areas of Syria, where more than 90 per cent of the population are living in poverty since the Syrian pound, or lira, crashed last year.

"This research shows an incredibly systematic way of diverting aid before it even has a chance to be implemented or used on the ground," said Natasha Hall, of the CSIS.

Last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) risked complicity in human rights violations in Syria, if they did not ensure transparency and effective oversight.

HRW: Returning refugees face grave abuses in Syria

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International OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSyriaUN
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