Syria says US should have spent train-equip funding on aid

Syria suggests funding for US programme to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters should have been spent on humanitarian aid

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Special operations forces from Iraq, Jordan and the US seen training at King Abdullah Special Operations Training Centre in Amman, Jordan as part of operation Eager Lion

Updated Oct 28, 2015

Syria on Tuesday said that the United States could have utilised the $500 million funding on aiding Syrian refugees and humanitarian crisis rather than the notably failed programme to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters.

Syrian United Nations Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari also implied that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been supporting "terrorism with great generosity" rather than the $2.9 billion UN humanitarian response plan.

"The United States spent half a billion dollars - this is enough to fill the humanitarian deficit - half a billion dollars ... within the framework of the programme to train and to equip the moderate opposition," Ja'afari said while speaking to the UN Security Council during a briefing on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. 

In recent months, the US announced that it altered the "train and equip programme" for Syrian oppositions, instead it would provide weapons and equipment packages “friendly factions,” in Syria which are not related to any terrorist groups.

Under the train and equip programme, the US has trained about 180 moderate Syrian opposition fighters outside of Syria, before sending them back to the battlefield. 

In response to Ja'afari’s allegations, a US official speaking on condition of anonymity stated that the US has already made a great deal of economic contribution to assist the humanitarian crisis in Syria. 

"The United States has contributed $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid relief ... to assist those affected by the crisis in Syria, which persists in large part due to the Syrian government's horrific actions against its own people," said the US official.

There was no immediate response from the UN missions of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

More than 250,000 people have been killed in Syria since the civil war started in 2011 between the Assad regime and opposition forces following the Arab Spring movement that swept a number of countries in the Middle-East and North Africa.

In addition, 6.7 million people are displaced internally while at least 5 million have fled the country to the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. 

TRTWorld and agencies