For Immediate Release
The Syrian American Council (SAC) today calls upon the United States and international community to reroute humanitarian aid to Syria outside of UN channels in light of Monday's report by The Guardian detailing repeated violations by UN agencies of sanctions against the Assad regime. The Guardian's report revealed explicit UN violations of US and EU sanctions such as payments to a blood bank run by the Assad regime's defense department, payments to the charity run by Bashar al-Assad's wife Asma, and payments to companies owned by Assad's notoriously corrupt cousin Rami Makhlouf.
SAC wishes to note that even payments to seemingly innocuous regime-linked sources can be rerouted to Assad's killing machine. For example, the UN has made millions of dollars in payments to Assad's fuel supplier, which also fuels the warplanes bombing Syrian civilians; to Assad's Agriculture Ministry, which also feeds the regime troops storming Syrian cities and towns; and to Assad's blood bank, despite "concrete concerns" that the blood would be reserved for regime troops. SAC has received countless reports over the years of UN aid in fact being used by Assad soldiers.
Furthermore, as was highlighted last week by the regime's forced population transfer of all residents of the town of Daraya after years of siege, the UN has consistently failed to help those in the most need. Thousands of besieged children across the Damascus suburbs continue to starve a short distance from the UN aid headquarters in Damascus. In some cases, like Madaya, the UN did not even list these children as under siege due to regime pressure. While massive public pressure on a single town has at times led to a one-time aid convoy, the UN's overall aid record in Syria is one of abysmal failure and its insistence on supplying humanitarian assistance through the Assad regime makes a mockery of the entire program. The only form of assistance passed down from the regime to urgently needed areas outside his control are indiscriminate bombardments, siege, and starvation.
"The UN aid agencies have long ago failed to live up to their core mission of helping the neediest in Syria," said SAC Director of Government Relations Mohammed Ghanem. "Now we see that these agencies have been directly implicated in helping keep the Assad regime financially afloat. It is long past time for the world community to rechannel humanitarian aid toward grassroots organizations not tainted by association with Assad -- and it may now be required based on some countries' sanctions regulations."