It was just hours after releasing our last Reality Check on the White Helmets that the news broke—reports that the State Department had ceased funding of the controversial group.
But the reports lacked detail as to what funding is specifically being frozen, and the State Department isn’t going on the record.
So is the U.S. no longer funding the white helmets? And is it connected to Trump’s freeze on $200 million earmarked for Syrian “recovery”?
This is a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.
Late Friday, the White Helmets were all over the news. The reason? The State Department allegedly is no longer funding the controversial organization.
This, just hours after our investigation into who’s funding the White Helmets was released.
So what funding has been cut, exactly? That remains unclear.
According to CBS News, the White Helmets have complained that they haven’t received U.S. funding in weeks. This, after President Trump announced a freeze of $200 million in recovery funding for Syria.
But was that a freeze of the additional $200 million promised by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson? Or something else entirely?
In our investigation into who’s funding the White Helmets, we discovered that in August 2015, USAID awarded a $211 million, five-year contract with Chemonics to “provide fast, flexible, short-term assistance targeted at key political transition and stabilization needs” in Syria.
According to the website GovTribe, $2.1 million in incremental funding was last allocated for the contract in March of this year.
So far, $81.6 million of the total contract has been obligated in the deal with Chemonics.
There is no clear indication as to whether this contract is frozen. Even so, western governments are still supporting the white helmets.