Daesh-Assad Middleman Works for Russian Firm

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Daesh-Assad middleman works for Russian firm

ANKARA (Anadolu Agency)A Syrian businessman accused of selling Daesh oil to the Assad regime works as a subcontractor for a Russian firm, according to the Nabila Massrali, spokeswoman for the European External Action Service, the diplomatic service of the European Union said.

A separate publication by the European Council also alleged that the Syrian businessman, a middleman between Daesh and the Assad regime, is also working as a subcontractor of a leading Russian energy company.

The council published a decision on March 7, 2015, which said that there are a number of companies working as subcontractors with Daesh and the Assad regime.

“George Haswani is a prominent Syrian businessman, co-owner of HESCO Engineering and Construction Company, a major engineering and construction company in Syria. He has close ties to the Syrian regime. George Haswani provides support and benefits from the regime through his role as a middleman in deals for the purchase of oil from ISIL by the Syrian regime.

He also benefits from the regime through favorable treatment including the award of a contract (as a subcontractor) with Stroytransgaz, a major Russian oil company,” the decision said.

According to the council, Haswani is one of the businessmen close to Assad regime, and he is alleged to facilitate the oil trade between Daesh and the regime, as well as working under a subcontractor contract from Russian company Stroytransgaz.

Clear proof

The spokeswoman for the European External Action Service told Anadolu Agency that 13 businessmen and companies are involved in ‘monkey business’ in the region, and the EU has proof.

Commenting on Daesh’s oil trade as a source of finance for the terrorists, she said that restrictive precautions will be taken based on a careful examination of the findings.

According to a report published by David Butter, Chatham House associate fellow, in June 2015, George Haswani used to work for HESCO Engineering & Construction, which was a subcontractor of the Russian company Stroytransgaz.

In March 2015, the EU announced sanctions against seven Syrian individuals, including George Haswani, the head of the oil-and-gas contracting firm HESCO, who was alleged to have been involved in purchasing oil from ISIS on behalf of the regime.

According to Butter’s report, Haswani acknowledged that one of the projects that HESCO had been working on, as a subcontractor to Russia’s Stroytransgaz, lies in an area of central Syria under ISIS control; this was an apparent reference to the North Middle Area gas project, involving the development of the Fayyad and Sadad fields, between Palmyra and Raqqa.

At the COP21 conference, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that it is obvious based on U.S. Department of the Treasury information, that a businessman who was involved in the oil trade between Daesh and the Assad regime has been identified, as he has Russian and Syrian citizenship.

“There should be a clear explanation about the role of this person,” he added.

Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the U.K. told the Financial Times on March 7: “We have also agreed to target individuals supplying oil to the Assad regime, including George Haswani, a middleman buying oil from ISIL [Daesh] on behalf of the regime. This listing gives yet another indication that Assad’s ‘war’ on ISIL is a sham and that he supports them financially.”

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