Syria: Overseas Aid:Written question - HL4197

Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 14 December 2017
Department for International Development
Syria: Overseas Aid
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 23 October (HL1710), which 16 Syrian councils have received funds; whether any of those councils are in areas controlled by extremist groups including Hayat Tahrir Ash Sham and Ahrar Ash Sham; what assessment they have made of whether those funds might be exploited by such groups; and whether they intend to suspend all such financial support.
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 27 December 2017

The DFID Strengthening Governance Structures programme, Tatweer, is currently supporting thirteen Syrian councils in Aleppo, Idlib, Rif Damascus and Dera’a Governorates. Three further councils have received support through Tatweer, but this is currently suspended. For security reasons and for the protection of staff DFID does not disclose which councils have received funding.

DFID continuously assesses partners and has extensive controls in place to ensure money is used for its intended purpose and does not benefit extremist groups. Tatweer has field staff embedded within communities monitoring the ongoing conflict and the influence of extremist groups on local governance structures. Tatweer is clear with communities and local council members that any influence from extremist groups on councils will not be tolerated.

DFID has suspended financial support to two local councils in Idlib where Hayat Tahrir Ash Sham has sought to influence or control councils. We have also suspended supported to a council in Dera’a due to intense fighting. No financial support was diverted in either case. Assistance is monitored continuously and the UK Government will withdraw support if there is reason to believe UK funding may be at risk.

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