Samara Levy, “Pride of Britain” nominee, a British woman running her own charity known as Samara’s Aid Appeal, was under suspicion of fraud. The detailed claims she made concerning hospitals she claims to have founded, supported and developed have been proven to be untrue. Careful verification in Syria has proven that Samara Levy has never been connected with any medical facility in Syria.
After contacting the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Religious Endowments (Awqaf), and the Syria Trust for Development, none of these officials confirmed any knowledge of Samara Levy, or her charity having ever made any medical projects in Syria. The World Health Organization visits many hospitals in Syria, but they are Syrian projects and none are run by Samara Levy.
The Church Connection
Samara Levy is a member of St. Peter’s Church, Brighton. In a church website, dated December 2018, A statement appears strongly endorsing Samara’s Aid Appeal: “it’s sensible and verifiable and going to people in real need.”
The article states the people helped are displaced inside Syria. A refugee is a person outside of their own country. A displaced person is inside their own country. From this article and endorsement, we understand the clergy has confidence that Samara Levy is delivering aid to people inside Syria.
In the same church website, an article dated December 2018, details the work of Samara Levy and Samara’s Aid Appeal. Specific claims are set forth about Al Rahmie Hospital in Deir Ez Zor, which also features on the website run by Samara’s Aid Appeal. She claims this hospital was opened and is being run by Samara’s Aid Appeal, with a staff of seventeen, and rat bites are a common injury being treated.
Her claim of rat infestation in Deir Ez Zor mirrors an article posted to a website which is against the Syrian government. She claims the building used for the hospital was donated, but is severely damaged. Her website as of February 12, 2019 shows a photo of Samara Levy, with the caption below as “Samara in street next to Ar Rahmie Medical Centre. Much of the local area has been destroyed.” She claims she was in Deir Ez Zor, next to the hospital, but has no photo of herself at the hospital, or with staff.
A Catholic website published a letter written by Samara Levy, in which she claims to have opened Al Rahmie Hospital, and gives specific details. In this narrative, Samara changes her story to include more buildings, and no mention of any damage. She also claims the Ministry of Health are involved. She mentions different people involved in donating the buildings to be used. She asks for donations to keep her hospital operating.
The Real Al Rahmie Hospital, Deir Ez Zor
In a Syrian social media post, “Twasol News Agency”, dated March 9, 2018, we read in Arabic a news article detailing the Al Rahmie Hospital in Deir Ez Zor. Dr. Iskander Deeb, and his foundation have partnered with The Syria Trust for Development to open a charity hospital. The building was a Mosque, and the Minster of Religious Endowments (Awqaf) had donated the building to be used as a hospital.
The Syria Trust for Development is an organization which has been involved in building better communities for sixteen years, and their motto is: “Integrity, accountability and transparency”. The organization operates under the patronage of the First Lady of Syria, Asma al-Assad, who was born in London, England. Her father is Dr. Fawaz Akhras, a cardiologist in London. The article goes on to say that Dr. Deeb is planning another Hospital which is called Eman in Arabic, which translates to “Faith” in English. The following is a translation from Arabic to English, which is not perfect, but is sufficient to understand the main points. This translation is available on the news article’s page.
Charitable and development projects in zour for the Syrian Secretariat for development. After the ongoing distribution in deir al-Zor and and, the Syrian Development Secretariat, in partnership with Dr. Iskandar’s foundation, began its charitable and development projects, the first of which was a small hospital, clinics in all terms Abdullah Bin Abbas (round), who has been donated by the minister of awqaf to create this humanitarian charity and has begun to are large containers containing medical devices to start in another hospital called faith, will be a central hospital and It is based in the buildings provided by Haji Ahmed His, the famous one who has been assigned as a regional manager for the eastern region and the head of the deir al-Zour Branch, All thanks to the Syrian Secretariat for development, the foundation and the director of relations in deir al-Zor, Mr. Maher sugar and all Source: Deir Al-Zour Lighthouse.
Syrian State TV had video coverage of the opening ceremonies at the Al Rahmie Hospital in Deir Ez Zor. The video is in Arabic detailing that it is a charity hospital and run by Dr. Iskander Deeb and his foundation. Paying particular attention in the video to the distinctive decoration of the walls inside the hospital, we see clearly that the photos Samara Levy has used on her own website are a match. The photos that Samara Levy had posted on her website and Facebook page were taken from the Tawasol article.
Samara goes to great lengths to express that she can never reveal the true names or faces of her medical teams, for their security. However, the Tawasol article’s accompanying photos clearly shows Dr. Iskander Deeb. In one photo he is inside the shipping container which was converted into an exam room. On Samara’s Aid Appeal she showed a photo of a similar shipping container conversion, which she referred to as a “Meditainer”. Notice the photo she stated was used at Al Rahmie Hospital is green inside, while the actual exam room Dr. Deeb is standing in is white.
Furthermore, the photo Samara used was taken from an Indonesian firm’s website, who is a specialist in container conversions. The photo did not belong to Samara, she took it and misrepresented as her own.
It is clear from the Syrian news article, that there is no mention of any connection to Samara Levy or Samara’s Aid Appeal. If Samara Levy was the true operator and supporter of the Hospital she would be mentioned as such, and this could have then be used by her to ask for further donations from her UK donors. She appears in many other articles from independent sources in which she claims to fund the Al Rahmie Hospital. Here are statements made by Samara Levy:
#1. She claims to fund and operate Al Rahmie Hospital, Deir Ez Zor
#2. She claims to fund and operate Al Hayat Hospital, Aleppo. This hospital was destroyed in 2012 by a car bomb, and according to Feras Shehabi, President of the Aleppo Chamber of Industry, and Member of Parliament, the hospital has never been rebuilt.
We opened Al Hayat hospital on 1st May 2017. A former maternity and obstetric hospital that had closed because of lack of resources and funding.”
#3. She claims to have bought land, and received a building permit for a new medical center, which she had previously called “Jerusalem”, but later calls “Grace”. She is now asking on her website for donations of 2,000 British Pounds per square meter. She further states the reason she needs to build this new medical center:
We are planning for a teaching hospital, equipped and staffed to a standard that we can train doctors and nurses with the skills and knowledge needed to provide the highest level of critical care services in Syria.
As an estimated 2 out of 3 healthcare professionals have fled Syria, the medical profession lacks specialist experience to teach and equip the next generation of medics.
Specialists are needed in Syria and our efforts will be focused on training the new generation of doctors and nurses while they are studying in addition to developing the skills of the medical professionals who have chosen to stay and serve their people during this crisis.”
Samara Levy asserts there is a lack of teaching hospitals currently in Syria, and the few doctors who remain are incapable of teaching. However, when we fact-check that statement we find it is baseless.
Here is a list of teaching hospitals in Syria which are fully functioning: Al Assad University Hospital in Damascus, Syria; Al-Mouwasat University Hospital in Damascus, Syria; Children’s University Hospital, in Damascus, Syria; Aleppo University Hospital, in Aleppo, Syria; Tishreen University Hospital, in Latakia, Syria. In February 2018 it was reported:
A medical team of Tishreen University Hospital in Lattakia has successfully separated two identical twin boys conjoined at the abdominal area in the first-of-its-kind operation on Syria’s level.”
Who is Dr. A?
Samara Levy constructed an elaborate false narrative which she misrepresented as her charity. She claimed Dr. A to be her medical director, yet shrouded in mystery to protect his identity. She has recently removed her statements about him, but here are a few archives references to him on the net, which can be found on a google.com search using the search terms of: Samara “Dr. A”.
Before I found out about this attack, I asked Dr A how his day had been.”
Dec 25, 2016 – The team from our Hospital which we call Meljar, and also the team from another medical facility in the desert run by Dr A were evacuated as an …”
Dec 25, 2016 – Yesterday Dr A and a small team returned safely to their homes in Syria after spending two days travelling around one of the most dangerous …”
The above page has been removed by Samara Levy, but this remains seen on the internet:
Feb 5, 2018 – Al Rahmie hospital meaning “mercy” is almost ready to open to all … want to thank our Director of Relief and Medical Projects, “Dr A” who has …”
Samara Levy apparently colluded with someone who could read Arabic. She was banking on the fact that UK donors would not be able to read Arabic, and would not make the connection between the real Al Rahmie Hospital in the news article and video, and her false claim that it is her hospital. The story she presents is a close replication of the actual story of the Al Rahmie Hospital.
She failed to take into account that there are dozens of ex-pats from UK, USA and other European countries which live and work in Syria, and were also following the Facebook page, and website of Samara’s Aid Appeal. These ex-pats wanted to believe she was truthful. She published this on her Facebook page:
“NO JANUARY AID APPEAL. I’m so sorry to say that we won’t be running an appeal for clothes, shoes, blankets and other aid items in January as we had hoped. This is because of a new restriction that has been put in place in Syria this week, and we cannot guarantee that we will be able enter any containers into the country. It is not linked to the recent news about Bab Al Hawa crossing as we have never used any of the land borders from Turkey. Our team on the ground have been trying to establish the exact situation but at the moment we don’t know.”
This statement caused ex-pats to reach out to her with offers to help inside Syria, to resolve any issues which would prevent the free flow of her aid into Syria. She makes a specific claim to have never used Turkey as an entry point into Syria. Emails to Samara Levy on January 11, 2019 went unanswered. This is when the ex-pats became concerned that she and her charity might be frauds.
The first red flag in the investigation of Samara’s Aid Appeal, were the many photos she posted to her Facebook page of loading up trucks in the UK with clear markings as having been based and licensed in Mersin, Turkey. Investigation of the trucking firm Besir Baran revealed he had been from Aleppo, but in 2012 left and was living permanently in Mersin, Turkey where he partnered with a trucking firm MATUR.
On his personal Facebook page he identifies himself as a “Syrian-Turk”. Samara Levy claims to have never used Turkey as an entry point into Syria, and yet she consistently used a Turkish company to move the aid from UK to Syria. But, this would be impossible, as the international border between Syria and Turkey is closed to all traffic, excepting the illegal movement of armed terrorists. Samara Levy was featured in this news video and the truck being loaded is clearly marked MARTUR.
As the noose tightened around her neck, she began to destroy evidence of her false claims. Modern technology is made of disappearing ink it would seem, as what you have posted today, can be deleted tomorrow. She shut down and locked her website on February 5, 2019 in an effort to sanitize it. The next day, February 6, 2019, the article about her suspicious charity appeared on Off-Guardian. That same day she reopened a new version of her website. However, she has still has fraudulent claims which appear currently on her website.
On February 10, 2019 Samara Levy removed her charity Facebook page, and her own personal Facebook page. Her website for her charity remains open, but she has removed a great deal of evidence. The “Gallery” section of her website doesn’t contain photos of herself, or any of her own charity, but instead uses borrowed photos from another charity, “Samaritan’s Purse”.
Samaritan’s Purse, an international charity, has no teams inside Syria, and has never worked inside Syria. Their aid goes strictly to Syrian refugees living outside of Syria, and have no aid distribution inside Syria. Samara Levy and her charity have been documented in various news articles and online sources as having started by first using the charity registration of another charity, “Feed the Hungry”.
Feed the Hungry has never had any presence inside Syria. They are helping only outside of Syria. However, in this Croydon Minster article, dated May 2017, it states about Samara’s Aid Appeal: “On Sunday April 30 and May 7 we will collect and pack donations of clothes and shoes to send to refugees in Syria.” Samara Levy had convinced her donors the aid is going in Syria, and not to other locations, and she was operating under “Feed the Hungry”.
Her website home page had for years featured 2 videos: one video began with an iconic scene of the columns of Palmyra. The other video, at the bottom of the page, was a video clearly identified as BBC. She has now removed it. The BBC reporter was a female with long blond hair and was videoed outside at some event in support of Samara Levy’s charity. Samara used this BBC video to establish credibility and trust of her charity.
Other instances on the internet of Samara Levy using the BBC to support her charity are:
During her recent effort to destroy evidence on her website, she has removed all traces of the following:
If you have done any fundraising for Samara’s Aid Appeal, we would love to see your … the website www.samarasaidappeal.org/giving and we can provide some relief … CLICK HERE FOR BBC SOUTH EAST TODAY REPORT MARCH 2017 …”
MEDIA. Since the start, Samara’s Aid Appeal (formerly Winter Clothes Appeal) has received much publicity. … BBC South East Today report on 30th August 2016 …”
This is an English translation of the Italian language, using Google translate. This establishes that Samara Levy used the BBC to endorse her charity, and the donors were motivated to donate based on the credibility of the BBC.
Personally, I participated several times in this initiative by donating my used clothes and other comfort goods for one of the collections. Recently, after listening to a BBC interview in Samara and struck by his humanity and passion, I decided to organize a collection myself with the help of all of you, aware of the great sensitivity and desire for help that surrounds me. The first collection is scheduled for May 5, 2018 in conjunction with the monthly Rhymetime. On that occasion, if you want, you can bring the first donations.”
Samara Levy produced and acted in three videos in which she misrepresented Qarbot as Syrians displaced from Aleppo. The Qarbot ethnic group is a distinct group which corresponds to the Gypsy, Roma and Travelers. In the three videos she makes costume changes, and mentions different dates, but the exact same location and actors are all the same. She sells the viewer on the notion that these people are needy due to the conflict. Donors in UK have no way of knowing Samara Levy is exploiting them, and misrepresenting them as Syrian displaced people. Furthermore, she made the children in one video wear T-shirts with Evangelical Christian wording, which would be a death sentence to them if a Jihadist group were to see them. She has very recently removed the videos; however, this is still seen on internet searches:
The UK Charity Commission should conduct a thorough investigation of her charity. The UK Charity Commission is central to establishing the confidence and trust of the donors, otherwise worthy and deserving projects will suffer from fraud. The lack of trust will keep the needy suffering, as donors will grow wary of giving again.
Samara Levy might be a lone-wolf; just a housewife in Brighton, or could she be the front of an organization? All those truck loads and container loads she claims to have sent to into Syria: where did they actually go, and who benefitted from them? All the millions in cash donations she collected from 2014 until present: where did they actually go?
NGOs or UK government agencies are possibly working in coordination with Samara Levy. The UK government does not recognize the government of Syria in Damascus, but is aligned with the Syrian Opposition, which is the political arm of the Free Syrian Army, which had been aligned with dozens of other armed militias, which had previously included Al Qaeda affiliates.
Samara Levy posted photos to her Facebook page, Samara’s Aid Appeal, in which she stated she was standing in Latakia, dated November 13, 2018. However, she had messaged a Facebook friend stating she had been denied a VISA for entry into Syria. She mentioned in the message she had been hoping to visit Latakia, but couldn’t.
The photo she took, standing alone in an alleyway, could have been taken anywhere. However, in the group of men standing behind her, only one has his face revealed, and yet Samara chose to “mask” his face with some photo tool, so his identity cannot be confirmed. Why mask a man’s face who is not with you in the photo, and seemingly a by-stander? Is that man a wanted terrorist? That photo is likely taken in the South of Turkey, which resembles Syria, and this is also the likely destination of her truck loads of donations gathered in UK.
The photo above was taken from Samara’s Aid Appeal, facebook page. It was dated November 2018, and she stated this was taken in Latakia, Syria.
The puppet may have been revealed, but the masters may never show their faces.