‘Rutte tried to stop research into support for Syrian rebels’ | NOW

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has personally tried to block an investigation into Dutch support for Syrian rebels. Sources from three different coalition parties have informed this News hour.

It concerns an investigation into the Dutch aid program for Syrian combat groups, also known as the NLA program. Rutte would have explicitly spoken out against an investigation of the facts during the Council of Ministers, said News hour Friday evening.

News hour in Faithful revealed two years ago that the Netherlands supported a total of 22 armed moderate groups in Syria between May 2015 and spring 2018. These secret organizations violated human rights and collaborated with terrorists. They received no weapons from the Netherlands, but they did receive more than 25 million euros worth of cars (313 in total), food, medicines, communication equipment, tents, uniforms and training.

Subsequently, the House of Representatives passed a motion for an independent fact-finding investigation into the NLA program. According to sources News hour Rutte is said to have informed various ministers that he does not want such a fact-finding investigation, including in the Council of Ministers.

It is not clear why Rutte does not want a fact-finding investigation. Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said earlier that research will lead to “major problems” because “a very large part of the information is confidential”.

It would also create “tensions” among “allies” who were involved in the aid program, says Blok opposite News hour.

Utility was already controversial

NLA stands for ‘non-lethal assistance’: non-lethal support. The program was designed to provide non-military support to moderate Syrian armed groups, such as shipments of logistics equipment, food and medicines.

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The program was discredited when it turned out that it was not easy to determine which warring parties count as moderate. In addition, some support ended up with fighting groups that were outspoken jihadist. The NLA program ended in March 2018.

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