Naharnet

SNC: Hizbullah Trading with Refugees' Organs to Fund its War

The opposition Syrian National Council has accused Hizbullah of “trading with the organs” of Syrian refugees to cope with the “financial hardship” the party is going through due its war efforts in the neighboring country.

The party “has devised an emergency plan aimed at reining in its financial deficit which is growing day after day,” the SNC said in a “security report” published by CNN Arabic on Sunday.

“The main reason (of the deficit) is the financing of the militias that are aiding the regime in Syria,” the SNC added.

The Council, the biggest bloc in Syria's opposition-in-exile, had quit the umbrella National Coalition on January 20 in protest at the latter's participation in the Geneva peace talks with the regime. However, it rejoined the coalition in February after the collapse of the negotiations.

According to the report, which the SNC said was prepared in collaboration with friendly security sources inside Syria, the cost of Hizbullah's operations “is consuming 35% to 40% of the party's total budget, which has put it under an enormous financial pressure, not to mention the difficult Iranian economic situation that has reflected negatively on Tehran's financial aid to the party.”

Hizbullah's alleged “emergency plan” involves collecting taxes under the banner of “defending the sect,” the SNC charged.

It also accused the party of sending envoys to “Shiite expats in West Africa and South America to raise donations” and organizing “a broad advertising campaign to raise donations in Iran,” noting that “high-ranking and influential Shiite scholars” are running the so-called campaigns.

“The party's extreme financial deficit has even prompted it to engage in a very covert manner in organ trade, especially livers and kidneys,” the SNC claimed, saying Hizbullah is “exploiting the destitution of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and deceiving them into selling their organs for $5,000 per organ, after which each would be sold for $90,000 in the global market.”

Organ trade is the trade involving inner human organs (heart, liver, kidneys, etc.) for organ transplantation. There is a worldwide shortage of organs available for transplantation, yet commercial trade in human organs is illegal in all countries except Iran.

Contacted by CNN Arabic, Hizbullah public relations officer Ibrahim al-Moussawi declined to comment on the SNC's allegations, saying the party “has no interest in giving comments to foreign media outlets that would eventually write whatever they see appropriate.”

“Should there be anything official, the party will issue a statement,” Moussawi pointed out.

Hizbullah's fighters openly entered the fight in Syria in May 2013 and were instrumental in helping President Bashar Assad's troops push back rebels and re-capture strategic towns and rebel strongholds along the border with Lebanon and near Syria's capital.

The party argues that its intervention in the neighboring country was necessary to fend off the threat of extremist groups and prevent the fall of Syria into the hands of Israel and the West.

Y.R.


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