IS threat hovers over Syria camp, rattling authorities
Aid workers are stoned and guards stabbed by wives and children of ISIS fighters at Syrian refugee camp
- Kurdish Al-Hol refugee camp under threat from relatives of former ISIS fighters
- About 7,000 refugees crammed into site complaining of lack of aid and facilities
- Guards have been stabbed and aid workers stoned many stay loyal to militants
- So-called ‘Muhajirat’ female jihadists are said to be behind the latest stabbings
- Children also throw stones at authorities in camp on the orders of their mothers
Guards have been stabbed and aid workers stoned by the families of ISIS fighters as the group’s black flag is flown over a Syrian refugee camp.
The wives and children of the so-called ‘caliphate’ are reportedly sticking by the jihadists and waiting for orders from their leader.
Months after the defeat of the jihadist proto-state, families of IS fighters are among 70,000 people crammed into the Kurdish-run Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria.
Swarming around journalists, women clad-in-black complain of poor medical assistance, a lack of aid, and boiling tents.
They also praise the elusive IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying they are waiting for orders from their leader.
Umm Suhaib, the widowed wife of a jihadist, admits that ISIS supporters have attacked Kurdish security forces guarding the camp.
An internal security patrol member escorts women, reportedly wives of ISIS group fighters. Kurdish authorities say relatives of jihadists promote ISIS ideology and pose a ‘danger’
A displaced Syrian boy walks in al-Hol camp for the internally displaced people in al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria last week
‘Two or three times, the Asayesh were stabbed,’ said the 23-year-old Iraqi mother of three.
The so-called ‘Muhajirat,’ female jihadists who travelled to Syria to join IS, are behind the stabbings, she said.
‘Why do they stab them? Because they allow injustice to prevail,’ said Umm Suhaib, covered in black from head-to-toe.
She also accused the Asayesh of conducting ‘night raids’ on the tents of ‘sisters,’ referring to female IS supporters.
Umm Suhaib said her husband, a Tunisian, died months ago fighting the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in the eastern village of Baghouz, the IS group’s very last bastion in eastern Syria.
In March, the SDF announced the defeat of the ‘caliphate’ — which IS declared in 2014 over parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014 — after it expelled the last jihadist fighters from the village.
Tens of thousands of people, mostly women and children, were trucked to Kurdish-run camps in northeast Syria during the weeks-long campaign.
Wives of Islamic Group fighters held in a Syrian camp complain of poor medical assistance, a lack of aid and some accuse Kurdish security guards of raiding their tents
A man with an injured leg walks with a crutch at al-Hol camp as people collect UN-provided humanitarian aid packages
In total, some 12,000 foreigners – 4,000 women and 8,000 children – are now living in such camps, according to Kurdish authorities.
‘We only came to the camp because of Baghdadi’s orders,’ said Umm Suhaib.
She has not seen her family in Iraq for nearly three years, but she does not seem keen on going back home.
Her only wish is the ‘return of the ‘caliphate” so that she can ‘settle there’.
Surveillance cameras that operate round-the-clock are omnipresent in Al-Hol and security is especially tight around a fenced section of the sprawling camp, where foreign women are held guarded by Kurdish forces.
Unlike Syrian and Iraqi women who are allowed to roam the camp freely, these high-risk prisoners are escorted by armed guards when they want to go to the camp’s market or receive aid rations.
‘They see us as enemies, and that creates problems,’ said Amer Ali, the head of the Asayesh force, adding that some women have tried to flee.
A woman wearing a niqab stands carrying a jerry can and a toddler at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp in northern Syria
A woman wearing a niqab walks carrying an infant. Kurdish authorities have warned the relatives of ISIS fighters still pose a threat
In June, a woman from Al-Roj camp who had been transferred to hospital tried to escape from there but was arrested before she could flee, medical sources at the facility said.
The woman, they said, had removed her black face veil and changed into a white dress to make her getaway.
Earlier this month, a video shared on social media networks showed women clamouring around an IS flag that had been hoisted on an electricity pole in Al-Hol as children chanted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Greatest).
ISIS wants ‘to spread its ideology through these women,’ said Ali, confirming the authenticity of the footage.
The children too are a problem, he said.
‘They throw stones at us because their mothers tell them that we killed their fathers, and destroyed their houses,’ Ali said.
An security patrol escorts women, reportedly wives of ISIS group fighters at the camp of 70,000 displaced people
A displaced Syrian boy drinking water from a tank at the al-Hol camp. Violence at the camp has reportedly been on the rise
Kurdish authorities have repeatedly warned that the children of jihadists represent a ‘time bomb’ the world urgently needs to defuse.
Without rehabilitation and reintegration, these children could become future ‘terrorists’, they have warned.
Sheikhmous Ahmed, a Kurdish official in northeastern Syria, acknowledged the security challenges.
‘We do not have the means to stop everything that is happening, but we try to contain these incidents,’ he said.
IS supporters ‘remain attached to their ideology, and they will always represent a danger,’ he warned.
One of them is Umm Abdelaziz, a 20-year-old Syrian from Damascus.
She is furious because she has had no news about her husband who was arrested a few month ago after leaving Baghouz.
‘For us, death is more valuable than this humiliating life,’ she said.
In Baghouz ‘we were prosperous, we had money, but here we’re burning in the flames of hell.’
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