As the United States continues its mission to ultimately “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), it hinders any progress made through airstrikes, by continuing to provide the targeted land with aid and supplies.
The aid coming to the Jihadist-controlled territory, from the West, consists of mostly food and medical supplies, and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development, numerous European donors, and the United Nations.
According to The Daily Beast, the current debate is over whether or not to continue the aid, which is “meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians,” but is being controlled and manipulated by Islamic State militants.
An anonymous aid worker told The Daily Beast that “the convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: The bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs.”
This translates into ISIS putting more money towards war efforts, due to the fact that it does not have to worry about coming up with the money to provide as much for the civilians in the area it controls.
A Middle East expert from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington D.C., Jonathan Schanzer, is concerned that providing aid to the areas controlled by Islamic State militants will make Syrian civilians favor having the militants in power.
“I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance,” said Schanzer. “By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.”
Another anonymous aid worker explained to The Daily Beast the debate between “right and wrong” the workers go through when they are required to deliver supplies that they know will benefit Islamic State militants. The worker explained one instance that occurred a few months ago, when he and his coworkers were delivering aid to a mobile clinic.
“The clinic was earmarked for the treatment of civilians, but we all know that wounded ISIS fighters could easily be treated as well,” said the worker. “So what are we doing here helping their fighters, who we are bombing, to be treated so they can fight again?”
However, The Daily Beast reported that what becomes “even more bizarre” is the fact that while U.S. humanitarian aid flows into ISIS-controlled territory, “only a little is going into Kurdish areas in northeast Syria.”