Little help from friends

Iraq and Iran are aiding the Syrian regime financially in its crackdown on protests, a former official in President Bashar al-Assad’s regime alleged Thursday in a report on Al-Jazeera’s website.

Mahmoud Suleiman Haj Hamad made the allegations at a press conference in Cairo after announcing his defection from the regime, according to the satellite network’s Arabic-language website.

„The Syrian regime receives financial support from Iraq and Iran,“ said Hamad, without providing details.

Damascus has spent some two billion Syrian pounds ($40 million) on payments to local militias to suppress the anti-government protests that the UN says has left more than 5,000 people dead since March, he added.

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