Elsewhere online
March 31, 2016

Charities Say Cautious Banks Hindering Syrian Refugee Aid

Regulatory crackdowns on potential terrorism-funding channels are restricting humanitarian groups' ability to get help to refugees and others affected by conflicts in the Middle East, The Wall Street Journal writes. American and European banks under pressure to prevent money laundering and the flow of funds to militant groups have closed or frozen accounts or delayed transactions by several charities active in Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon, according to the newspaper.

The slowdown has affected groups ranging from tiny Texas-based Watan USA, which funded a school for refugees in Turkey, to large, well-established nonprofits such as Mercy Corps, which said it has had difficulty getting money into the region. “We have to anticipate that any transfer that mentions Syria will be delayed or blocked,” said Jeremiah Centrella, a Mercy Corps counsel.