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Syria sent tons of cash (literally) from Moscow to support war effort

Records suggest that a military plane brought 240 tons of bank notes into Syria between July 9 and Sept. 15.

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An investigation by the news outlet ProPublica revealed that a Syrian airplane brought literally tons of cash to Syria over the summer. (Wikimedia/Wikimedia commons)

Investigative news organization ProPublica claims that it obtained flight records that show the Syrian air force ferried huge sums of money from Moscow to Damascus over the summer.

The records suggest that a military plane brought 240 tons of "bank notes" into Syria between July 9 and Sept. 15.

The type of notes were not described in the records.

Neither the Russian nor Syrian governments would comment on or confirm the authenticity of the flight records.

It is believed the money is being used to finance the Assad government, which is feeling the pinch of tough sanctions by Western countries during the 20-month uprising in the country.

Sanctions on Syria also prohibit other countries from minting its currency, said the Telegraph.

“Having currency that you can put into circulation is certainly something that is important in terms of running an economy and more so in an economy that is become more cash-based as things deteriorate,” said Daniel Glaser, Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, reported ProPublica.

“It is certainly something the Syrian government wants to do, to pay soldiers or pay anybody anything."

Reuters reported that Russia is currently printing money for Syria. In a report last week, the news agency said that Syria had asked Russia for a two-billion-dollar loan.

Syria had also raised the risk of hyperinflation, as it is releasing vast amounts of Russian-printed money into the economy.

"The state is afraid of printing money because it will create a social time bomb," Sami Stefan, a Syrian economist, told Reuters.

"But it could be increasingly forced to do so to pay the army's salaries."

The Syrian central bank has denied that the Syrian government is printing new bills, saying that it is instead replacing old or damaged ones.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/121126/syria-literally-sent-tons-cash-moscow-support-war-eff