In the murky world of Syria’s war economy, Isis has been one of the main drivers of human trafficking during nearly six years of civil war. First, it was the biggest buyer. Now, its fighters are a top commodity.
Isis militants have become one of the most lucrative targets for smugglers and rebel groups — including factions armed by foreign powers such as the US and Turkey.
“Every faction trades in Isis fighters. Don’t believe anyone who says they don’t,” says Abu Yazan, who, like most rebels interviewed, asked for his real name not to be used due to the sensitivity of the subject. A fighter in northern Syria for the Jabha Shamiya rebel group that has been supported by Ankara and Washington, he has shuttled Isis militants from their territory to rebel areas.