With Greece overrun with more than 75,000 refugees and migrants, a CBS Report reignited a claim that terrorist groups are using the network to smuggle in operators, a human smuggler telling the station that he “moves ISIS members from Greece to the rest of Europe.”
It wasn’t said how that jibes with ISIS being routed from its strongholds and lairs in the Middle East after repeated poundings from the US military, NATO, a global coalition and local forces after a relentless campaign against the group.
In March, the BBC reported that a US-backed alliance of Syrian fighters said that ISIS had lost the last pocket of territory in Syria it controlled, bringing a formal end to the “caliphate” it proclaimed in 2014 and retreating in defeat.
ISIS once once controlled 88,000-square kilometers (34,000 square miles) of territory stretching from western Syria to eastern Iraq and imposed a sadistic rule on almost eight million people, generating billions of dollars in revenue from oil, extortion, robbery and kidnapping.
According to the CBS report on US TV, “human smuggling is big business in Athens,” with CBS News claiming they have found evidence that ISIS members are being moved through Greece to the rest of Europe but no verification or denial from Greek authorities.
“In central Athens, an area around Omonia Square is notorious as a center of criminal activity where human smuggling gangs operate,” said CBS’ reporter Holly Williams, who along with her crew filmed with a hidden camera, during a set-up meeting, a human trafficker who comes from North Africa and runs a smuggling syndicate, “moving people from Athens to western Europe for around $8,000 each,” it was said.
During filming the alleged smuggler was heard saying, “From Athens, you go [to] Italy, you arrive there in Italy. I have people will help you with everything. It’s very easy,” although it’s not, with most refugees and migrants penned up in detention centers and camps and Greek patrols clamping down at the western port of Patra which leads to Italy.
Williams posed as an ISIS wife, who wanted safe passage to Germany. “No problem,” the alleged smuggler said, adding that he had, in fact, moved other ISIS members before with no evidence that he had.
“He even bragged that he’d smuggled three brothers of notorious al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a claim CBS News cannot confirm,” said Williams, with no verification.