Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) “knowingly” siphoned off millions in American taxpayer-funded humanitarian assistance into the coffers of the al-Qaeda wing in Syria, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) reported this week.In post-Islamic State (ISIS) caliphate Syria, the al-Qaeda-linked Ha’yat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) group has surfaced as the strongest jihadi group in the region.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon OIG’s Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the official name of the U.S. mission against ISIS, revealed:
Since late 2017, USAID [U.S. Agency for International Development] OIG investigations have uncovered numerous instances of possible or confirmed diversions to armed groups in Idlib Governorate in northwestern Syria, including Ha’yat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
One investigation found that an NGO’s employees knowingly diverted thousands of USAID- funded food kits worth millions of dollars to ineligible beneficiaries (including HTS fighters) and submitted falsified beneficiary lists. The investigation resulted in USAID suspending the program and the NGO terminating the employment of dozens of individuals from March to May 2018. MORE