A Syrian national suspected of helping three British school girls to cross into Syria to join ISIS has been arrested in Sanliurfa and claims to have been working for the Canadian intelligence services.
The man identified as Muhammad al-Rashed, a Syrian dentist, met the girls in Istanbul and accompanied them to the southeastern city of Gaziantep to cross them into Syria, wrote Canadian CBC News citing a Turkish intelligence report they have obtained.
Turkish A Haber television published a video showing Al-Rashed with three girls in Gaziantep before they moved into Syria.
Turkey’s Dogan News Agency claimed it has obtained the suspect’s first statement to security officials after his arrest Feb. 28 in which he apparently confessed to be working for the Canadian intelligence service.
Police investigation leading to Al-Rashed’s arrest revealed that he accompanied eight more British nationals along with three girls from Istanbul to Gaziantep, buying all their bus tickets under his name.
In his testimony, he admitted helping foreigners to join ISIS and giving information about them to Canadian intelligence services with the aim of obtaining asylum in Canada.
Al-Rashed said he received between 800 and 1500 U.S. dollars for every person he helped to join ISIS.
Road to becoming a spy
In his testimony, Al-Rashed said he joined the Syrian army when the civil war broke out because of compulsory military service and fought for them for 1 year and 9 months before he deserted and went to Daraa.
He said he helped treat injured Free Syrian Army soldiers, who were controlling the city. However, he fled to Jordan when Assad forces captured the city.
Al-Rashed said he applied for asylum in the French, American and Canadian embassies in the Jordanian capital of Amman. He said French embassy officials asked him questions about the situation in Syria and foreign fighters but did not return to his asylum application. U.S. embassy did not return at all.
Canadian embassy officials responded to his application and asked him to repeat his application every three months.
He later moved to Rakka where his family lives and informed Canadian officials about the situation there. When the city fell to ISIS, he gave information to Canadian intelligence concerning foreign fighters in Rakka either during trips to Jordan every three months for his asylum application or through the internet.
During his time in Rakka he met a high level ISIS commander named Abu Qaqa, who is also a British national.
He said he built a friendship with the British militant commander and that Qaqa wanted him to help bring people to join ISIS by meeting them in Turkey and bringing them to where they tell him.
Al-Rashed accepted the offer because he could easily transfer the information that he got to the Canadians. He also said he was afraid, and believed ISIS was working for shariah.
He then began to give the information to a man working in the Canadian embassy in Amman he knew as “Matt”.
“Matt” told him to stay in Turkey and provide him information and photos of foreign fighters who join ISIS.
Al-Rashed said Abu Qaqa gave the names of foreign fighters to him whom he met in Istanbul, before taking their identity information and accompanying them to the point given by Abu Qaqa after which he passed information concerning the militants onto the Canadians.
He said he met 8 other British nationals in Istanbul along with three girls and accompanied them to Gaziantep after buying their bus tickets. Later he handed them over to people that the ISIS commanders had told him to.
He said that as far as he remembers he moved 25 people from Istanbul to Gaziantep in total.
When he was arrested in Sanliurfa, Al-Rashed had many documents concerning foreign individuals with him including photos, passports, tickets and bank accounts showing financial transfers.
He is being held in solitary confinement in Turkey as his trial continues.