Unlike in Iraq and Afghanistan, where U.S. forces provided security, taxpayer-funded relief in Syria has gone to agencies involved in “bid-rigging and multiple bribery and kickback schemes,” according to a government audit.

And with no end in sight to the fighting, potentially billions of dollars in U.S. aid could line more pockets than empty stomachs.

A report by the Government Accountability Office found aid oversight lacking by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, known as USAID. Indeed, “relief” is elusive when it’s shoveled out to who knows whom in the hopes that it will reach those in need.

Just one Turkish vender paid to deliver food ration kits substituted salt for lentils, according to an investigation. Left undetected, this fraud alone would have racked up $106,000 in losses.

Other investigations by the USAID Inspector General’s Office have led to more than $11.5 million in savings and six program suspensions.

In response to the investigations, USAID told The Daily Signal that it will “take every measure at our disposal to recover misspent funds” and that the losses amount to a fraction of the $1.1 billion provided in Syrian humanitarian relief.

More important than how much is spent is where U.S. humanitarian aid goes.

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