SDF starts ID campaign for foreign women with alleged ISIS ties in notorious Al Hol camp
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) on Wednesday announced that local security forces began a registration campaign for foreign women accused of ties to the so-called Islamic State in the notorious Al Hol camp. The campaign aims to improve their conditions and coordinate with foreign countries for their potential return.
“The Syrian Democratic Forces and the Internal Security Forces in partnership with the International Coalition Forces will be undertaking the process of collecting and registering data about the foreign wives of ISIS members,” the AANES said in a statement, noting that Al Hol “is the most dangerous camp in the world as it includes large numbers of ISIS members and their children.”
“This collection of data helps improve the living and humanitarian conditions inside the Al Hol camp, as well as facilitate coordination with the countries whose nationals reside in the camp and urge them to assume their responsibilities toward their citizens,” the statement continued.
“It will help find a solution to the complicated situation in the camp, given the huge number of women and children living in it.”
According to local media, the campaign began at 2 a.m. when security forces surrounded the facility and imposed a curfew “to facilitate the process of obtaining data and to prevent gatherings inside the camp.”
Before the campaign started, the local administration at the camp distributed leaflets calling on the foreign women to cooperate with the survey.
“The security and administrative authorities at Al Hol camp will collect data in order to know the preferred destination for every person or family residing in the Al Hol camp,” the leaflet said, referring to the foreign women with Islamic State ties.
“The Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) will work with your countries or the country that you prefer to go to,” it added, “based on the data that will be collected inside the camp.”
The Al Hol camp was built to house 40,000 individuals but currently holds around 65,000 people, mostly women and children. This includes nearly 11,000 foreign women with alleged ties to the Islamic State and their children.
There is little agreement on what to do with the camp’s residents. Many nations, notably European Union member states, have shown great reluctance to take back their nationals now at the camp because of fears they may pose a security threat.
The local Kurdish-led self-administration in northern Syria has called on countries to take back their citizens and said it is ready to facilitate the transit of women and children to their home nations.
Nicholas A. Heras, Middle East Security Program Manager at the Institute for the Study of War, told Kurdistan 24 that Al Hol “has a critical mass of people from former ISIS controlled areas who are actively calling for the return of ISIS to power.”
“There are thousands of children and youth who are being indoctrinated that the ISIS caliphate must return, which presents a generational and regenerative threat that ISIS may return.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany