Elsewhere online
February 25, 2016

Aid Charities Say Anti-Terror Laws Hampering Help to Syria

Western countries' counterterrorism laws, particularly those aimed at interrupting financial flows to jihadist groups, are making it harder for charities to deliver food, medicine, and other vital supplies in militant-held parts of Syria, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

A survey by the news agency of 21 nonprofits active in Syria found that since the emergence of Islamic State, governments and banks are demanding more in-depth audits under laws and regulations aimed at tracking terrorist financing.

Charities said additional compliance reporting has cost them millions of dollars and thousands of staff hours and forced them to relocate aid efforts for fear of running afoul of anti-terror controls. Most said they have had payments delayed or blocked since the Syrian war began, and a quarter have had bank accounts frozen.