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    Free Syrian Army militants carry a weapon during what they said was preparations for an operation to strike at forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Assad. File photo

    Syrian Rebels Used 'Non-Military' Dutch Equipment in Warfare - Reports

    © REUTERS / Alaa Al-Faqir
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    In September, the Dutch government announced the complete cessation of assistance to opposition groups and other organizations in Syria, saying that the program "did not bring the expected results" amid the government troops' successful operations.

    The assistance that the government of the Netherlands sent to opposition groups in Syria was used by members of these groups to conduct combat operations, according to a joint investigation by the Dutch Television and Radio Broadcasting Corporation (NOS) and the newspaper Trouw.

    The probe revealed that at the request of the media, the government documents which indicated that "almost all the equipment" supplied by the Netherlands to such militant groups as the Levant Front and the Jaysh al-Nasr was used during the fighting.

    READ MORE: Syrian Opposition Completes Withdrawal of Heavy Weaponry in Idlib – Reports

    "In addition, two other groups appeared in the documents, which have not previously been mentioned by NOS and Trouw," the inquiry said, referring to the so-called "Second Central Division" and the Jaish al-Nasr-affiliated Hama Rebel Gathering.

    The probe claimed that the equipment included vehicles that the opposition groups used for the attacks and laptops to locate combat targets.

    The investigation noted that these data runs counter to Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok's statements that Amsterdam's assistance to the Syrian opposition groups was of a "non-military nature".

    READ MORE: 'White Helmets on the Ground Work Almost Hand-in-Hand With US Troops' — Journo

    In the House of Representatives of the Netherlands Parliament has already demanded explanations from the government in connection with the probe.

    In mid-September, the government reported the complete cessation of assistance to opposition groups and other organizations in Syria, saying that "the opportunity to quickly change the situation [in Syria] is extremely small due to the inefficiency of the program."

    Stef Blok and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag also said in a letter that the program "did not bring the expected results," while the troops of Syrian President Bashar Assad, in their opinion, "will soon win."

    READ MORE: 'US & UK Funded White Helmets Because They Served Their Interests' — Commentator

    The Netherlands has reportedly allocated more than 80 million dollars to the Syrian opposition groups, including the Free Syrian Police and the White Helmets.

    Both Damascus and Moscow have accused the White Helmets, ostensibly a non-governmental organization, of staging several provocations involving chemical weapons to influence public opinion and justify foreign intervention in Syria.

    The Levant Front, also known as Jabhat al-Shamiyah, was formed in December 2014 and called a terrorist organisation by The Netherlands' public prosecutor earlier this year. The Jaysh al-Nasr group was established in August 2015 and is affiliated with the Free Syrian Army.

    Related:

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    Pentagon: White Helmets Carry Out Strictly Humanitarian Mission in Syria
    Russian MoD: Syrian Armed Opposition Not Fighting Nusra Terrorists
    Syrian Opposition Hails Statement on Foreign Troops' Withdrawal From Syria
    Tags:
    investigation, government, troops, assistance, equipment, Stef Blok, Netherlands, Syria
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