Syrian agent worked as 'courier' to deliver money to IS

15th March 2015, Comments 0 comments

An agent who helped three British schoolgirls cross into Syria to join the Islamic State group was also working as a courier to transfer money to jihadists, a Turkish newspaper reported on Sunday.

Turkey announced Thursday that it had arrested an intelligence agent working as a spy for an unidentified country in the US-led coalition and said he was a Syrian national.

Media reports in Turkey have said he was working for Canadian intelligence -- a claim rejected by Ottawa.

The Milliyet newspaper reported that the man, a dentist using the name "Doctor Mehmed Resid", told Turkish police during questioning that he received the money sent from abroad before it was delivered to IS militants.

The agent said he withdrew the cash from a branch of Western Union and delivered it to Syrian jewellers working in the southeastern Turkish city of Sanliurfa close to the Syrian border, the report said.

The jewellers then contacted their colleagues in Syria and a middleman would collect the money from their shops.

The agent told investigators that his brother, who lives in the Syrian city of Raqa, an Islamic State stronghold, received the money from the jewellers and delivered it to IS militants, according to Milliyet.

The report did not reveal who sent the money in the first place, only that it came from abroad.

Video footage emerged Friday purportedly showing the same man helping the British girls into a car in Sanliurfa on their way to Syria. The trio are only partially shown but are all seen wearing Islamic headscarves.

Close friends Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-olds Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, crossed into Syria after boarding a flight from London to Istanbul on February 17.

They took a bus from Istanbul to Sanliurfa, from where they are believed to have crossed the frontier.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said this week the man, who remains in custody, was not working for a European Union member state or the United States.

Along with the US and EU states, Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been involved in the coalition against IS, as well as Australia and Canada.

Despite the media claims that he was working for Canada, a senior official in Ottawa told AFP the suspect "is not a Canadian citizen" and "was not employed by" the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

- Also working for Jordan? -

The agent told Turkish police he was in contact with the Canadian embassy in Jordan, and also provided Jordanian police with intelligence, according to Milliyet.

"I received the intelligence that some youths in Jordan were specially trained to join IS and conveyed this information to the Canadian embassy," he reportedly said.

The agent also added he once provided intelligence for the Jordanian police through Canadian officials.

The pro-government Sabah daily claimed the agent had helped 150 people join IS since June 2013.

Turkish police seized documents revealing that the man had welcomed IS recruits from foreign countries at Turkish airports and then accompanied them to the Syrian frontier, the newspaper claimed.

Turkey is often under fire from Western countries for not doing enough to stem the flow of jihadist fighters across its volatile border.

Ankara hit back last month, accusing Britain of a "reprehensible" delay in informing the Turkish authorities that the three girls were heading for Turkey.

© 2015 AFP

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