UK: St Andrews dismisses Syria centre criticism

St Andrews University has dismissed claims that it received funding negotiated through people connected to the current Syrian regime, reports BBC News. The Fife university launched a review into its Centre for Syrian Studies following the uprising in Syria.

The review team said media claims that funding had been arranged by the Syrian ambassador were "highly misleading". It also found no evidence the centre produced research which was prejudiced due to funding from a British and Syrian businessman. The review team, led by St Andrews deputy principal professor Chris Hawkesworth, was set up following international concerns about the events in Syria.

Last year the centre's head Professor Raymond Hinnebusch had said the centre could not have been established without the intervention of the Syrian ambassador to the UK, Sami Khiyami. In an article last week, the Guardian raised concerns about this, claiming that Khiyam persuaded Syrian-British businessman Ayman Asfari to make a major donation to help set up the centre. However, the review team found that Khiyami had only introduced Hinnebusch to Asfari.
Full report on the BBC News site