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US sanctions ISIS financial facilitators, in effort to ‘expose and disrupt’ extremist network

The United States on Monday sanctioned five individuals participating in an ISIS network of financial facilitators operating across Indonesia, Syria and Turkey in an effort to “expose and disrupt” the network of “violent extremists.” 

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated a network of five Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) financial facilitators operating across Indonesia, Syria and Turkey. The five individuals had played a “key role in facilitating the travel of extremists to Syria and other areas where ISIS operates.” 

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The Treasury Department said the network has also conducted financial transfers to support ISIS efforts in Syria-based displaced persons camps by collecting funds in Indonesia and Turkey, some of which were used to pay for smuggling children out of the camps and delivering them to ISIS foreign fighters as potential recruits.

The designation comes amid the 16th meeting of the Counter ISIS Finance Group of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The U.S., Italy and Saudi Arabia co-lead the CIFG, which comprises nearly 70 countries and international organizations, and coordinates efforts against ISIS financial support networks worldwide.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that by designating them, the Biden administration aims “to expose and disrupt an international ISIS facilitation network that has financed ISIS recruitment, including of vulnerable children in Syria.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks after viewing the "Burma's Path To Genocide" exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Monday, March 21, 2022.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said Monday that the U.S., as part of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, “is committed to denying ISIS the ability to raise and move funds across multiple jurisdictions.”

According to the Treasury Department, residents of “displaced persons camps” in Syria include those who have been displaced by ISIS, as well as ISIS members, supporters and their families.

“ISIS sympathizers in over 40 countries have sent money to ISIS-linked individuals in these camps in support of ISIS’s future resurgence,” the Treasury Department said Monday, noting that Al-Hawl is the largest displaced persons camp in northeast Syria, and it holds up to 70,000 people, most of whom are women and children.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference with Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe at Government buildings in Dublin, Ireland, Nov. 1, 2021. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

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“In al-Hawl alone, ISIS supporters have received up to $20,000 per month via hawala, an informal transfer mechanism; the majority of those funds transfers have originated outside Syria or passed through neighboring countries such as Turkey,” Treasury said Monday.  “Additionally, since 2019, ISIS has been smuggling its associates out of al-Hawl largely to Idlib, Deir ez-Zor, and Raqqa Governorates in Syria. ISIS is particularly focused on smuggling children out of displaced persons camps for recruitment as fighters.” 

The individuals designated Monday include Dwi Dahlia Susanti, who has been an ISIS financial facilitator since at least 2017; Rudy Heryadi, who advised extremist associates about potential travel to “ISIS-dominated areas, including Afghanistan, Egypt, and other parts of Africa and Yemen;” and Ari Kardian, who has been charged by Indonesian authorities with facilitating the travel of Indonesians to Syria to join ISIS.

The Treasury Department said the individuals are being targeted “for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, ISIS.”

In addition, Susanti’s “accomplices and financial facilitators” were also designated, including Muhammad Dandi Adhiguna and Dina Ramadhani. They are being targeted “for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Susanti.”

The sanctions against the five individuals ensure that all property of those individuals are blocked and reported.

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