Turkish 'coalition' helps ISIS members to escape

Some 68,000 people currently live in Hol Camp, including 30,000 ISIS jihadists with their families.

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria is overwhelmed with securing the camp from the threats posed by interned ISIS jihadists as well as with ensuring humanitarian supply to the camp due to the embargo and the war situation.

Many describe the camp as "the new capital of ISIS". This is no coincidence, because ISIS women have organized themselves into militias that repeatedly terrorize the camp population with murders and attacks. There have been repeated outbreaks of jihadists in recent times. Just a few days ago, a Moldovan official of the ISIS militia Hisba was "liberated" by the Turkish secret service MIT from the camp and brought to Turkey. Organized attempts to break out occur almost every day. Last Friday two ISIS jihadist women Elif Sancar (Turkish citizen) and Chechen Fatma Ridvan Aus were caught hidden in a water tanker.

Elif Sancar talked to ANF about the structures behind the "attempts to free ISIS members". She said that the “liberation” of the jihadists by the Turkish secret service MIT is organized and financed by the infamous “Foundation for Humanitarian Aid” (IHH). She reports that many women had reached Turkey through the IHH, and that families could get a safe passage for $15,000 through MIT, the Islamic State, and the Syrian National Army (SNA).

Elif Sancar is 24 and comes from the northern Kurdish town of Kulp in the province of Amed. She followed her husband who joined ISIS in 2014. Her husband died in battle, and she surrendered to the Syrian Democratic Forces (QSD) in Deir ez-Zor in March 2019. Since then she has been in Hol Camp with her children. She was captured on July 25 trying to escape the camp hidden in a water tanker.

As to the organization of the escape she said: “I called my brother on the phone. He said Turkey would get us out of Hol Camp. 'Turkey pays the way and money through the IHH,' he said. My brother lives in Turkey. I have often phoned him. She received the phone ‘from a sister’”. This means another ISIS jihadist.

Sancar continues: “She asked a couple of men about a cell phone. I don't know who these men were. The name of the 'sister' was Ayşe. She also went to Turkey hidden in a tanker. That was two months ago. When the way is clear, they come with the tank trucks. Ayşe and the others have stated that they have received the money for it from Turkey. She says that her family could not have paid for such an escape and stresses that it is not possible for smugglers to escape the camp without money.”

Sancar adds: “I don't know anything else about the IHH, but I know that my brother received the money from the Turkish state through the IHH. My brother said registration was necessary. I should write down my mother's name, myself and the children, and send passport photos. He said, ‘As soon as you have registered, you will leave.’ He also wanted information about us in the camp, how many we are and so on. My brother gave the money and they should get us out. We have obtained the requested documents."

‘Turkey wants to free us’

The majority of ISIS women have fled this way, Sancar says, and reports that around 30-40 ISIS families from Turkey live in the camp. When asked why they were being taken out of the camp by the Turkish state, Sancar replied "because Turkey wants us".

To live under Sharia law

Chechen Fatma Ridva Aus reports that she went to the Islamic State territory in 2016 because friends had previously gone there and invited her. She left in 2015 and decided to cross the border in 2016 and live under the Islamic State in Syria. She went across the Bal al-Hiwa border crossing near Idlib and from there to the region in Syria that known as "areas of jihad".

IHH smuggled a lot of women

When asked who helped her escape, she says: "At the camp, a 'sister' told me there was a way and I could go straight to Turkey and would not go to prison. I knew that a lot of 'sisters' were brought out by the IHH and now live in Turkey. It was a good way and they arrived safe and sound. The IHH first brings the women to Jerablus, from there to Turkey and then to where they want to go. That's what the 'sisters' told me. Some of the women who fled the IHH stayed in Turkey, others returned to their countries. I spoke to the smuggler Ümü Muhammed Turki. She lived in Idlib and belonged to ISIS. She also broke out of Hol Camp. I got in touch with her on the recommendation of the 'sisters'.”

Second way via ISIS-SNA-MIT cooperation

Ridva Aus continues: “I said 'I want to go officially' and she said 'OK'. The IHH brought women from here anyway. Ümü Muhammed said that the alternative way was a more relaxed.”

Fatma Ridvan Aus decided not to flee with the IHH, but to flee directly via a cooperation between ISIS-SNA and MIT. She continues: “I wanted to go to Jerablus and from there across the border. Ümü Muhammed Turki told me that I should go to Jerablus and report to the administration of the 'FSA' and register. She said: 'Go there, get registered and then go over the Turkish border in a relaxed manner.' I'm not sure, but as far as I understand, Turkey knows about the work of the IHH. Those who go with the IHH also come to Jerablus, but they have to live in a camp there for a while and only then can they enter Turkey.”

$15,000 to escape

Ridvan Aus reports that the ISIS woman wanted $15,000 per person to smuggle people in this way and that she had received this money from her family. The Turkish secret service had been informed of this. Ümü Muhammed Turki had contacted Aus’ parents herself. “The Turkish secret service knew Umü Mohammed well. She also said that the secret service knew about everything and the whole smuggling was planned. My father and mother came to Turkey. They were waiting for me there. I couldn't decide whether to stay in Turkey or return to Russia. If I had gone to Russia, I would have taken the risk of being arrested. So I could stay in Turkey too. I also mentioned this to Ümü Muhammed. She said, 'Get out first. Your father will know what to do.""

IHH - notorious for ISIS support

During the reign of ISIS over large parts of Syria, IHH trucks in particular were used to smuggle weapons and equipment to ISIS.

ISIS jihadist Nevzat Geneli, who was captured by the SDF, said he had met the prime suspect in the Suruç massacre, Ilhami Bali, while carrying aid to Syria with IHH trucks.