The Netherlands’ Foreign Affairs Ministry has announced they are shutting down all support for multiple factions within Syria, including the White Helmets organization. The White Helmets were recipients of 12.5 million Euros from the Netherlands.
Styling themselves as a “civil defense” force with no ties to foreign governments, the White Helmets actually receive substantially funding from several Western nations, including the US, Britain, and until now, the Netherlands.
Netherlands officials warned that there is inadequate supervision of the White Helmets, and the lack of transparency on the flow of cash to the group, as well as how it is spent, raises substantial risk that the aid money may fall into the hands of terrorist groups.
The report calling for defunding the group added that they operate in areas ruled by armed groups considered “unaccepted” by the Dutch government, and that it is inevitable they will be in growing contact with such groups.
This presumably means al-Qaeda, as the White Helmets relocated in recent months into Idlib Province, and have set up shop in areas under the control of the al-Qaeda affiliate there.
Also defunded in the same announcement were the Free Syrian Police, primarily for being under the influence of al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as the Levant Front militant group. Though the Levant Front isn’t legally listed as “terrorists,” officials cited concerns about their growing extremism, and the fact that the Netherlands had secretly provided them with weapons under a “non-lethal assistance” program.
This article includes information from a Moon of Alabama article on the same subject.
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