A western reporter in Istanbul has reported that he spoke with a man who claims to have been in the business of smuggling ISIS fighters – disguised as refugees – out of Turkey for three years. Their destination? Western countries:
Extremist fighters have been brought into mainland Europe, hidden amid boatloads of Syrian refugees, according to a veteran smuggler who claims to have done so himself.
The smuggler, who has been given the pseudonym Hassan here, said in an interview with BuzzFeed News that since the summer he has sent more than 10 Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters into Europe.
Hassan’s claim was impossible to verify — and Western officials said they’d seen no evidence that such a scenario was taking place. His testimony, plus that of a second human trafficker who offered a similar account, marked the first time someone claiming direct involvement has said publicly that such a plan is underway.
Hassan has worked in the trade for more than three years. He charges $2,500 for each refugee he sends to Europe from Turkey, shipping them by boat to Greece. He said he views it as “humanitarian work,” on top of the profit he makes. But he said he had grown uncomfortable with the dark turn this work has taken since he began allowing ISIS fighters to mix with the refugees on his crowded speedboats.
Hassan said the fighters were all Syrian or Iraqis posing as refugees. He believed they remained loyal to ISIS and were prepared to launch terrorist attacks in Europe. “They are waiting for their orders,” Hassan said. “Just wait. You will see.”
The reference to “Western officials” having “no evidence” of any of this should be taken – at minimum – with a grain of salt. Even if said officials did have evidence it was taking place, there’s nothing in it for them to announce it. Western politicians can be read like a book these days; ignorance is increasingly their perceived best defense (they always seem to learn about things when the media reports on them).
The writer, Mike Giglio, relayed a particularly disturbing example of his findings:
Hassan said that one day this summer, he met a clean-shaven client who looked “like a simple refugee.” The two struck up a friendship, and Hassan learned that the man was a mid-level official with ISIS. The man was blunt about his reason for heading to Europe, Hassan said — he wanted to be ready to stage attacks there. “The Western world thinks there is no ISIS in their countries — that all the jihadis have gone to fight and die in Syria,” Hassan said. “But this man said, ‘No. We are sending our fighters to take their places.’”
Here is an interview of Giglio about his findings, with Headline News (h/t WFB):