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UN looks into aid possibly diverted to Syrian military

UNICEF ‘extremely concerned that supplies may have not reached destination,’ says Ban Ki-Moon’s deputy spokesman

A photo published on the website of the Syrian National Coalition shows boxes of UN and Red Cross food parcels and relief aid found in a Syrian army base on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. According to the coalition, the Syrian army steals relief aid intended for the civilian population. (Courtesy Syrian National Coalition)
A photo published on the website of the Syrian National Coalition shows boxes of UN and Red Cross food parcels and relief aid found in a Syrian army base on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. According to the coalition, the Syrian army steals relief aid intended for the civilian population. (Courtesy Syrian National Coalition)

UNITED NATIONS — The UN children’s agency says it is looking into reports that aid to Syrian civilians may have been diverted to Syria’s military.

UNICEF is “extremely concerned at reports that some of its humanitarian supplies in Syria have not reached their intended destination,” the deputy spokesman for the UN secretary-general, Farhan Haq, told reporters Thursday.

Syria’s main opposition group in exile, the Syrian National Coalition, issued a statement Thursday pointing out photos published by Syrian activists of what they say are aid parcels with UN logos at a Syrian army base that rebels overran this week.

The coalition called on the UN to investigate.

Haq says UNICEF is trying to verify the photos. He adds that “inevitably, in a time of conflict, some aid gets diverted.”

Hadi Al-Bahra, former President and Member of the political committee, was quoted on the website of the Syrian National Coalition as saying that the Assad regime steals relief and food aid destined for displaced people and people affected by the war and distributes it to regime troops and mercenaries entering Syria from across the border to fight on the regime’s side.

The site carries photos taken, it says, by Syrian local activists, showing boxes of food parcels and relief aid packs clearly bearing the logos of the United Nations and the International Red Crescent that were found by rebel fighters inside the Al-Mastuma army base, overtaken by rebel forces on Tuesday.

The coalition called on the UN to investigate the rebels’ reports with its partners on the ground, and also called for a re-evaluation of the way aid is distributed.

— Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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