US Action Against IS Financier Shows Jihadists’ Cash Flow Continues from Turkey - VOA
The al-Hol camp also accommodates nearly 60,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from other parts of Syria and some refugees from Iraq. Camp authorities say they have physically separated IS family members from the rest of the camp’s residents.
There are at least two hawala offices that openly conduct business in the non-IS section of the camp, but money often gets smuggled from those offices to IS family members as well, according Thomas McClure, a Syria-based researcher with Rojava Information Center.
“The foreign women aren’t allowed to receive money,” McClure said, “but when they want to receive money, the Syrian and Iraqi people get it from the hawala offices in the Souq [a market in the camp] and give it to them for a cut for smuggling them.”
Some of the IS families reportedly receive outside donations that amount to more than $3,000 a month, while an average family in the camp spends one-tenth of that amount, according to a report published by North Press Agency, a local news site.
Hawala also provides a useful means of sending humanitarian support to IDPs and refugees, say some analysts. While banning them outright is not advised, experts say the business can be regulated in a way that prevents IS access to outside donations.
“The hawala money transfer system is crucial to remain open for the women to be able to purchase what they need for their families,” Anne Speckhard, director of the Washington, D.C.-based International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE), who has visited the al-Hol camp for research, told VOA.
“But it should be regulated so large sums are not transferred,” she added. “Likewise, large sums make it very possible to bribe those receiving the money and those who would smuggle the women out.”