top of page

Oct 24, 2022

New: Top 100 Syrian Suppliers to UN Agencies (2019-2020)

Today we release our Observatory of Political and Economic Networks (OPEN)–SLDP report on how private Syrian companies involved in human rights abuses benefit from the UN’s procurements from the country.

The report was supported by Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung and the European Endowment for Democracy.

This report is the first systematic and quantitative effort to examine problematic suppliers to the UN, using OPEN's proprietary database, the Gazette, The Syria Report, and open-source intelligence.

We investigated the backgrounds of the top 100 private Syrian suppliers to the UN in 2019 and 2020, covering 94% of procurement funding to private suppliers whose identities are not suppressed. The report's broad coverage allows us to make generalizations about the procurement process.

Each supplier was classified into four risk levels following an adapted version of the SLDP–Human Rights Watch guide published earlier this year.

So, what did we find?

UN procurements from regime-held Syria suffer from seven issues.

A whopping 47% of UN procurement spending in Syria is estimated to have been awarded to risky or highly risky suppliers associated with the regime and its human rights abuses.

Among the suppliers awarded procurement contracts was Desert Falcon (Saker Al-Sahraa) LLC. The company is co-owned by Fadi Saqr, the leader of the National Defence Forces militia in Damascus, which committed the Tadamon massacre in 2013.

The investigation also found that nearly a quarter of funds went to companies with owners sanctioned by the US, EU, or the UK ($68 million): Hashem al-Akkad, Samir Hassan, Fadi Saqr, Samer Foz, Ahmad Saber Hamsho, Ali Hamsho, Amr Hamsho, and Rania Al-Dabbas.

The UN in Damascus operates under numerous restrictions. This report acknowledges that and has benefited from the feedback collated by the UN Country Team from multiple UN agencies. Yet more must be done to redirect aid from the Syrian regime to the Syrian people.

To view the findings, use this interactive tool:

-- Each supplier is classified into one risk level.

-- Circle sizes denote the value of procurement

-- Double-click each supplier to see its information

-- Use the search function to look up a supplier

Here's what we think needs to be done about humanitarian donor funding going to human rights abusers through the UN:

I'm thankful to the researchers, supporters, and institutions who helped: Eyad Hamid, Muhanad Abulhusn, Wael Alwani, Dima Almohamad, Krystel Bassil, Sama Kiki, Dilek Gürsel, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, UN in Syria, the European Endowment for Democracy, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, SIRAJ, Lina Khatib, and Charles Lister.

The US Congressional Research Service is taking note of our report on the misuse of the UN's humanitarian spending in Syria.

I hope our meetings in Congress will pay off soon. We cannot afford to lose one more humanitarian aid dollar.

Observatory of Political and Economic Networks–SLDP

bottom of page