Last Tuesday, an investigation by Syrian institutions revealed that the United Nations has contracted with companies involved in human rights violations in Syria and paying them millions of dollars.
The investigation, launched by the Monitoring of Political and Economic Networks and the Syrian Program for Legal Development, spoke of the United Nations providing about $137 million to Syrian companies.
These companies are headed by figures subject to U.S. and European sanctions due to their involvement in supporting the Assad regime.
Among these names is Fadi Saqr, the commander of the National Defense militia loyal to Assad’s forces, who is responsible for widespread abuses — especially the 2013 Tadamon massacre.
In addition to the Amir Food Products company is owned by Samir Hassan, who is considered one of the key figures in the Syrian economy. His company obtained worth $8,444,671 between 2019 and 2020.
UN Signs Contracts With Sanctioned Government-Affiliate Syrians – Reports
Other companies include Desert Falcon, owned by the former member of the People’s Assembly Bilal Al-Na’al, and Jupiter for Investments SA, owned by the Mohammed Hamsho family.
A prominent name is that of Nozhat Mamlouk, the son of the head of the National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk, who is considered the most prominent security figure in Syria.
Little information about Nozhat Mamlouk, his work, or political and military activities is available.
According to the investigation, Nozhat Mamlouk owns First Class and received a contract worth US$371,000 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2020.
First Class was established in April 2018, with the financial capital of five people.
Among the company’s shareholders are Dima Akkad, who is considered the most prominent figure in the tourism sector in Syria, and Adib Saeed Al-Ashqar, General Manager of Ansaj Yarn Manufacturing Company in Syria. Other shareholders are Mohammed Zeidan and Mohammed Al-Bitar.
It is noteworthy that the company was dissolved on March 22, 2022, two years after receiving a UNDP offer.
According to economic analyst Younis al-Karim, the Syrian regime has set up companies in order to obtain huge UN funds by entering into contracts with the United Nations.
Al-Karim told Al-Souria Net that these companies operate on the principle of “kidnapping,” whereby they are established, given activities to enter into these contracts, and then — when the contract expires — these companies are dissolved.
Zain Safi, the commercial director in the Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection for the Assad government, revealed a few days ago that dozens of companies in Syria had been closed.
Safi told the state-aligned Al-Watan newspaper that “out of 79 companies that have closed since the beginning of the year, 50 companies — or 70 percent — have closed in the past three months.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.