The Netherlands no longer supports the Syrian opposition. Now that it is about to collapse, it is no longer possible and meaningful, the cabinet says.
The support to the rebels who are trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad, not with weapons but with vehicles and other goods, has already been suspended last spring. Now the aid to the aid workers of the acclaimed White Helmets and to the police force and the local government in the defensive area also ends, write minister Stef Blok (Foreign Affairs) and Sigrid Kaag (Development Cooperation) to the House of Representatives. Only clearing mines around the fallen IS capital Raqqa can continue to count on support.
The Netherlands has spent 70 million euros since 2015 to help the opponents of Assad. This money was spent mainly on goods for the rebels (25 million), on the police in the rebel area (almost 15 million) and on the Witte Helmen (12.5 million). Especially on the help of the first two was regularly criticized, because they would cooperate with extremists for example.
The aid to the Witte Helmen, which has been a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize in recent years, will not end until December. But once the last besieged rebel bastion has fallen in northern Syria, their role seems to have played a role.
The two ministers are "disappointed" that the aid has caused little. They look with dismay at the defeat that is taking place before the Syrian opposition, because they do not believe that it will usher in lasting peace.