SDF detains suspected ISIS financier in Raqqa
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Special units of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested an alleged ISIS financier in the group's former capital city Raqqa in northeastern Syria, the press office of the Kurdish-led force announced on Sunday.
In a video confession, the suspect, Muhammed Ahmad Karaz, originally from the Turkish-occupied Syrian city of al-Bab, admitted to receiving money from Turkey and the province of Idlib.
His goal was to distribute the money among ISIS cell members in various regions under SDF control, including the notorious al-Hol camp that hosts thousands of ISIS family members.
He also allegedly confessed to having formed a cell in Raqqa to blackmail merchants there and coerce them into paying money under the name of zakat (Islamic tax) and collecting the money for ISIS.
Furthermore, he also received instruction from ISIS to plant a bomb in front of a shop in the city.
Idlib is known to have hosted ISIS leaders.
The ISIS leader known by his nom de guerre Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi (Hajji Abdulla) was recently killed in a US operation in a farmhouse in Syria's northwestern Idlib province on Feb. 2. Also, former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US raid in Idlib back in October 2019.
Raqqa was liberated from ISIS in October 2017 by the SDF with support from the US-led coalition. The entirety of ISIS's self-styled caliphate was destroyed following the SDF's capture of the eastern town of Baghouz in March 2019.
The SDF rarely carries out operations against ISIS sleeper cells in Raqqa since most ISIS sleeper cell activity is in the eastern Arab-majority province of Deir al-Zor.