UK foreign aid money ‘diverted to extremists’ in Syria


The oversight has suspended a foreign aid project after a BBC Panorama investigation found taxpayers’ mazuma change was being diverted to extremists in Syria.

Officers from a UK-backed regulate force in Syria have also been working with courts take out brutal sentences.

A UK government spokesman said it takes allegations of co-operation with anarchist groups «extremely seriously».

Adam Smith International, the British institution running the project, said it strongly denies the allegations.

The Free Syrian Oversee (FSP) was set up following the uprising in Syria, to bring law and order to parts of the country that were exercise powered by opposition forces.

Adam Smith International (ASI) has been running the jut out since October 2014.

Britain was one of six donor countries paying for the project, which presents community policing to the rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Idlib and Daraa spheres.

It is intended to be an unarmed civilian police force, and not co-operate with extremist organizations, but Panorama has found examples where that was not the case. Some of Panorama’s charges against the project include:

  • Police cooperating with courts that cart out summary executions — including a case where two women were stoned to passing
  • Police being paid in cash and then being forced to darbies over funds to an extremist group controlling the area
  • Police office-bearers being handpicked by an extremist group
  • Dead and fictitious people are on the control payroll

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson announced in April that the UK would agree a further £4 million to the UK-funded Access to Justice and Community Certainty (AJACS) scheme that supports the FSP.

ASI says the FSP is an unarmed community police officers force that brings the rule of law and safety to millions of people in a war-torn territory.

An ASI spokesman said it «strongly refutes Panorama’s allegations».

«We have managed taxpayers’ in clover effectively to confront terrorism, bring security to Syrian communities and still the considerable risks of operating in a war zone,» he said.

«ASI has managed the project successfully alongside our husband in an extremely challenging, high-risk environment under the close supervision of the Curious and Commonwealth Office and five other governments.»

The company says it services cash to fund the police because there is no practical alternative — and that the British sway is aware of the payments.

Panorama has obtained ASI documents that show past and fictitious people were on the police payroll.

One police station in Koknaya in Idlib district was supposed to be the base for 57 police officers. But the documents show that when ASI’s organization visited in September 2016, they couldn’t find a single public official.

ASI said officers were accounted for on subsequent visits. The company has now evicted the payment of all salaries at the Koknaya police station.

It said it had identified completely few examples across Syria where deceased officers had remained on the remuneration list.

The documents also show how some police officers in Aleppo strand were forced to hand over cash to the extremist group — Nour al-Din al-Zinki — in dominance of the area.

The Nour al-Din al-Zinki Movement has been linked to evils including the beheading of a young prisoner in 2016.

An ASI report from July 2016 put someone on noticed that 20% of all police salaries were being handed ended «to pay for the military and security support that Zinki provides to the five FSP bus stations located areas under its control».

As well as handing over a cut of British aid moneyed to Zinki, the police had also worked with a Zinki court «by editorial up warrants, delivering notices, and turning criminals over to the court».

‘Backwards abhorrent’

The police cooperation has continued despite allegations of torture and encapsulation executions involving the court at al-Qasimiyeh.

Tory MP Crispin Blunt, late chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said the FSP should not be supporting extremist courts.

He symbolized: «You’ve got people being sentenced to death for homosexuality.

«Clearly that is totally and utterly unacceptable by any standard and the idea that British taxpayers’ bucks was associated with that would of course be wholly abhorrent.»

ASI try to says it has strict guidelines in place to ensure detainees are treated fairly and humanely, and that payments to the guard stations which were paying Zinki were stopped in August 2016. It expresses donor governments were kept fully informed.

Panorama also contrived that the Free Syrian Police provided support for courts run by the Syrian spin-off of al-Qaeda — Jabhat al-Nusra — which handed out extreme punishments.

Observe officers were present when two women were stoned to dying near Sarmin in December 2014. Sources have told Panorama the old bills closed the road so that the execution could take place.

ASI phrases the police officers who attended the stoning were not formally under FSP in check and have since been removed.

Panorama has also seen affidavit that al-Nusra handpicked police officers in two stations in Idlib strand.

ASI says that the officers imposed by al-Nusra were detected in comprised in two months and that payments to the station were then stopped.

The Theatre troupe says the payments in question only amounted to $1,800 (£1,340) and did not come from British rule funds. But ASI didn’t explain how they could be sure when the predominantly project is funded by cash.

A UK government spokesman said: «We take any statements of co-operation with terrorist groups and of human rights abuses extraordinarily seriously and the Foreign Office has suspended this programme while we examine these allegations.

«We believe that such work in Syria is worthy to protect our national security interest but of course we reach this judgment carefully noted that in such a challenging environment no activity is without risk.

«That’s why all our bill of fares are designed carefully and subject to robust monitoring.»

You can see more on this myth on Panorama, Jihadis You Pay For on BBC One at 7.30pm on Monday 4 December and afterwards on iPlayer.

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