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Charities warned on financially supporting terrorists

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Charities operating in Syria and Turkey have been issued a warning about the risks of financially benefitting terrorist groups in the area.

The UK Charity Commission issued the alert after media reported the crossing is under control of Hay’at Tahir Al-Sham (HTS), which has been listed under the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT). Charities are urged to remember counter-terrorism legislation.

“There is a risk that HTS could incur financial benefit from any aid passing through the Bab Al-Hawa crossing and therefore charities and their partners, using this crossing, may be inadvertently funding HTS,” the Commission said.

“It is a criminal offence under section 17 of TACT to enter or become concerned with an arrangement as a result of which money or other property is made available or has reasonable cause to suspect that it will or may be used for the purpose of terrorism.”

The Commission reminded charities that a terrorism association is corrosive to public trust and confidence in charities, and would be used by the Commission as evidence of misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charity.

Additionally, the Commission has advised that charities that are use partners to deliver aid from Turkey to Syria should ensure they know which border crossings are being used and regularly review the terrorism and extremism situation on the ground.

“Trustees of charities which are currently using the Bab Al-Hawa crossing either directly or through partner organisations must consider the risks of committing an offence under UK Counter Terrorism Legislation,” the Commission said.

“This may include suspending or stopping the movement of aid via the Bab Al-Hawa crossing at this time or exploring alternative routes.”

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