ISIS fighters can travel across eastern and northern Syrian with ease thanks to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions who deal in human trafficking.
The involvement of US allies in the smuggling ring was confirmed by sources in the US-led international coalition, who shared that there is “strong anecdotal evidence” that some of the senior ISIS figures were smuggled through Syria.
According to the sources, the town of Hajin (Al-Shafah) serves as an assembly point where the smuggling route starts. The terrorists are escorted by local guides from the ranks of SDF, who lead them through minefields to the town of Al-Shadadi.
The price that ISIS members have to pay the smugglers varies from $5000 up to $50,000 for escorting senior military commanders out of the ISIS-held areas. Foreign fighters have to pay more than locals.
From Al-Shadadi, the terrorists go to Manbij and through the Al-Awn checkpoint controlled by the FSA fighters, then through Afrin to Daret Izza in Idlib province. From there they can leave Syria by crossing the border with Turkey.