U.S. designates al Qaeda financial facilitator based in Turkey

Al Qaeda’s media arms.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced today that two money men working for al Qaeda and Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS) have been designated. The designations are part of a broader U.S. effort to sanction individuals and entities taking part in the Syrian war. Other extremists and parts of Bashar al-Assad’s regime were also designated and sanctioned as part of the campaign.

Hasan al-Shaban is one of the two bag men targeted by Treasury. He is described as a “Turkey-based al Qaeda financial facilitator” who “materially” assists the worldwide insurgency and terrorist network.

Treasury says that an al Qaeda “fundraiser” provided al-Shaban’s “banking information…to prospective donors as a way for them to send money to support al Qaeda military efforts and the so-called mujahideen fighting in Syria.”

Treasury’s brief announcement indicates that al-Shaban is part of a global illicit financing scheme that utilizes the “formal financial system” for nefarious purposes. Al-Shaban’s bank accounts are used by al Qaeda members “to coordinate the movement of money from associates across North Africa, Western Europe, and North America.” In addition, al Qaeda works with al-Shaban to “coordinate the transfer of funds to Turkey.”

The U.S. identifies al-Shaban as a Syrian national born in 1987. He is based in Gaziantep, Turkey and has also operated in Manbij, Syria.

The second money man targeted by Treasury today is Farrukh Furkatovitch Fayzimatov, who uses “social media to post propaganda, recruit new members, and solicit donations for HTS.” Fayzimatov has “organized community fundraising campaigns to purchase equipment for the benefit of HTS, including motorbikes.”

The U.S. identifies Fayzimatov as a citizen of Tajikistan who was born in March 1996. His aliases include Faruk al-Shami and he resides in Idlib, a Syrian province that is mostly controlled by HTS.

U.S. has repeatedly identified ISIS networks in Turkey

While al-Shaban works for al Qaeda, the U.S. government has repeatedly designated and sanctioned other jihadist facilitators based in Turkey who work for the Islamic State (ISIS). In January, the Treasury Department reported that the Islamic State continues to rely on “logistical hubs” in Turkey.

In November 2019, Treasury designated two brothers — Ismail and Ahmet Bayaltun — for their roles as “procurement agents” for the Islamic State. The brothers have been based in Turkey.

Earlier in 2019, the U.S. government designated members of the Rawi Network operating in Turkey. The Rawi Network originally helped Saddam Hussein’s regime evade sanctions, but became a core financial apparatus for the Islamic State.

In 2017, the Treasury Department said that another jihadist, Salim Mustafa Muhammad al-Mansur, had relocated to Turkey after serving as the Islamic State’s “finance emir” in Mosul, Iraq. Other facilitators in Turkey have been officially sanctioned as well.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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