Transfer of funds to ISIS under police supervision
SDF prisoner Sahab Ahmed Abdullatif spoke about ISIS transfers of funds from Deir Ez Zor to Turkey and to European and Gulf states from Turkey have been done under the supervision of the Turkish police and the MIT since 2017.
Another one of the Turkish state’s criminal networks in Syria was exposed after the human trafficker named Sahab Ahmed Abdullatif was captured by the SDF in the week he arrived in Northern Syria.
Sahab Ahmed Al Abdullatif was born in Hajin in 1984. He stayed in Lebanon for a while, then went back to Hajin when FSA took over the province. After his return, he smuggled oil and fuel between Hajin and regime held territory, and in 2015 he crossed into Turkey, travelling to Meyadin from Hajin, to Raqqa from there, then to Bab and then to Urfa, Turkey through Azaz. Sahab alleged that he didn’t do anything for several months and then he started to smuggle people from Syria to Turkey and Turkey to Syria with a vehicle he rented in Urfa. He took ISIS members over the Syrian-Turkish border. He arranged temporary residency permits and ID documents for civilians and ISIS members crossing into Turkey from Syria, by making deals with Turkish officials. From 2017 onwards, he transferred funds for ISIS members from Deir Ez Zor, Hajin, Susa and other places to Turkey and from Turkey to European and Gulf states. He also transferred funds the other way around. With his Syrian partners, he smuggled Yazidi women captured by ISIS to Turkey to sell them for a higher price. He committed these crimes from 2015 to the day he was captured by the SDF, June 23, 2018, in Hesije, Heseke just a few days after he crossed back into Syria.
Documents on Sahab’s phone prove his “jobs” and connections, as well as provide details on some of his account.
There are no documents that show Sahab Ahmed Abdullatif is an ISIS member, but there is ample proof of him smuggling ISIS members alongside civilian Syrians from Syria to Turkey and from Turkey to Syria starting in 2015. He also admits to doing so. He said he didn’t have relatives in ISIS, and when asked why ISIS members trust him so much and seek him out, he said: “The only connection between us was money. They wanted to cross into Turkey. It was to their advantage. And I would take them to Turkey.”
STARTING TO TRANSFER FUNDS
Sahab said he started to transfer funds when the trafficking business stalled in 2017 and that he opened a shop for that. The shop he opened with his relatives was a perfume and silver shop at first, because it was forbidden, and then turned it into an exchange bureau. Sahab Abdullatif and his partners started to transfer funds for ISIS members through the shop. Sahab said: “My shop was called El Beyan in Urfa. There was another shop in Hajin called Al Tabarej. Money was sent over my relative there. When his phone was off, people wanting to transfer funds would call me directly. Money would come through my partners in Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, the UK and other countries, and I would send that money to ISIS through my partners in Hajin and Deir Ez-Zor.”
There are many calls and photographs that show evidence of these transfers on Sahab’s phone. The numbers of persons asking Sahab to transfer their money or smuggle them into the other country are saved as “ISIS 1, ISIS 2, ISIS 3” on his phone.
ALSO INVOLVED IN ABDUCTING WOMEN
Sahab said he met his partners Syrian nationals Ibrahim Abdul El Mustafa (Ebu Suca) and Omer Muhammed Kadir in the shop named El Beyan: “They came to me. They were going to send money to Hajin. Then they said there was another matter and came back after calling. There were a few Yazidi women to be smuggled into Turkey from Syria. We agreed with Ebu Suca on money. I tool two Yazidi women from Deir Ez Zor to Til Abyad. Another smuggler was to take them from there. But the SDF captured them. I was only the mediator in smuggling the Yazidi women into Turkey. I learned that Bave Suca was planning to sell these women for more money later from his partner Abu Imad’s research. I was just the mediator but when the women were captured, Ebu Suca threatened me. He said I betrayed them and got them captured, and that they put money into this. He asked for 40.000 USD. Ebu Suca said the women’s families are in Turkey, but then I learned that it wasn’t the case and that he was planning on selling them for a higher rate. Omer would tell me that Ebu Suca was working for the MIT. Ebu Suca himself would threaten me and say he would turn me in if I didn’t pay him.”
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE POLICE THEN MIT
Sahab got involved with the Anti-terror Unit working in the extension building in Urfa’s Karakopru Police Directorate in winter 2017 and later with the National Intelligence Agency (MIT). After he started to transfer funds, he first took on the transfers of the Anti-terror Unit intelligence in Urfa and later he started to handle ISIS transfers under supervision by the MIT. Sahab said it was first the Anti-terror Unit who asked him to smuggle ISIS members into Turkey and then MIT asked for the same thing.
Sahab said the following on how he entered the ring: “Shortly after Ebu Suca threatened me, two plainclothes officers from the Anti-terror Unit came to my shop. They said, ‘You work for ISIS, you send their money, finish up here and you will come to the headquarters with us.’ They took me there, it was in Karakopru in Urfa. Close to the bus station. I don’t know how to read Turkish but there was a police logo. The men who took me there were civilians. So we Syrians call them intelligence officers among ourselves. Another relative of mine was captured later and then we learned that it was the Anti-terror headquarters.”
The location Sahab speaks of is the Karakopru Police Directorate Extension Building Anti-terror Unit.
COLLABORATE OR BE IMPRISONED OR DEPORTED
Sahab Ahmed El Abdullatif said he was threatened in the Karakopru Anti-terror Unit who told him to work for them: “There the intelligence threatened me. They said I must tell them how I work with ISIS members and how I sent money. They asked me for other things. They put 3 conditions: Either leave Turkey or be imprisoned, or work with them. I chose to work with them. I started to work with the police and the intelligence. I would give them the names and amounts for all the money sent to Hajin and coming from Hajin.”
EBU SUCA RUMORED TO WORK WITH MIT
Sahab Ehmed El Abdullatif said the following on his second meeting with the Karakopru Anti-terror Unit: “I met Karakopru Anti-terror Unit intelligence for the second time in a cafe in the Nevali Hotel. I told them that they were captured while smuggling Yazidi women into Turkey and that Ebu Suca threatened me with the MIT, and that he lied. There was two of them, one of them was Turkish and the other spoke Arabic well. He said his name was Ebu Ahmed Sheabi, and he was an Arab from Adana, Turkey. They told me Ebu Suca worked for the MIT.
THEY DIDN’T STOP THE FLOW OF MONEY TO ISIS
“They told me to inform them immediately when ISIS members sent money and to give them their names and phone numbers. They said it was OK that I sent the money through after I did so. Every two days they would come in plainclothes to my shop named El Beyan. I gave them lists of who sent the money coming from Hajin, Susa, Shafa and Baghouz to Turkey, who they sent it to, their phone numbers, everything. I would give them the numbers and names when money was sent from Europe to ISIS members in Turkey or Hajin through me.
Money would come from Sweden, Belgium, the UK, France and other countries. I notified the intelligence services immediately. They would tell me to hand over the money in 2 to 3 days. The money would come from ISIS members and go to ISIS members. The police knew this, but they never stopped it.”
INTELLIGENCE DIDN’T TOUCH THEM
Sahab said nobody was arrested other than 2 ISIS members despite him notifying the police of every one of them: “Out of these 2 I know for a fact that one was released right after he was captured. He was foreign-born. An ISIS member in Hajin called me a while after he was captured and asked me to contact him.”
Sahab said the only person captured on the information he provided was the Turkish Desk Amir Omer Yetek (Ebu Yusuf) in the so-called Media Ministry of ISIS: “During that time, in my second meeting with the intelligence in the Nevali Hotel cafe, a transfer came from Hajin for a Turkish ISIS member in Ankara. I don’t remember exactly but I think it was over 10.000 dollars. I told the intelligence immediately. then Ebu Suca and Omer Abdulkadir went to Ankara to hand over the cash. According to what they told me, the intelligence watched from afar but didn’t intervene at that moment. They captured him after some time passed. This was on TVs as well. But I don’t know what they did with him afterwards, whether they arrested him or not.”
THE INFORMATION CHECKS OUT
The information Sahab provided checks out when compared with the information the Interior Ministry showed on the media. Turkish media reported that Omer Yetek was captured by Ankara police Anti-terror Unit by early February 2018, but now many ISIS members out of Hajin say the Turkish state later released Omer Yetek. There are yet others who claim the intelligence services took ISIS member Yetek under protection. The ‘capture’ of ISIS member Omer Yetek was reported on, but there hasn’t been a single photo of him, which leads to the possibility that the claims may be true.
OTHER MEMBERS OF THE NETWORK
Sahab Ahmed Abdullatif has Syrian partners who work with the police and the MIT and do all the dirty work. Omer Kadir Muhammed was born in Raqqa. His Temporary ID issued by the Turkish Interior Ministry’s Sanliurfa Governorate was registered on 24.07.2014 and was issued in 2017. Sehab said Omer Kadir Muhammed was still in Urfa when he was captured.
Ibrahim El Mustara was born in Kesrah, Deir ez-Zor in 1988. His Temporary ID issued by the Turkish Interior Ministry’s Sanliurfa Governorate was registered on 11.05.2015 and was issued in 2017. Ibrahim El Mustafa was also living in Urfa when he was captured.