ISIS “often gathered and sent funds to intermediaries in Turkey who smuggle the cash into Syria or send the funds to hawalas operating in the camp”, the Treasury said.
Ankara’s commitment to combatting ISIS has been a point of discussion for some time. While Turkish officials claim that Turkey has done more than any other country to combat the threat posed by the group, many observers disagree. “ISIS continued to use money services businesses, including hawalas, to move funds in and out of Iraq and Syria, often relying on logistical hubs in Turkey and in other financial centers,” the report said in the most recent assessment of the ISIS finances.
When the United States launched a raid into Syria’s northwestern Idlib province to assassinate ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October 2019, the newly appointed National Security Council’s Middle East and North Africa coordinator Brett McGurk wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post, pointing out that al-Baghdadi’s hideout was near a large Turkish military post, and that Ankara had “some explaining to do”. Former President Donald Trump thanked the Syrian Kurds “for certain support they were able to give” in that same operation.
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