Prominent ISIS member captured in al-Hol camp in Syria

Removing ISIS cells from the camp “will lead to increased safety and security for IDPs and NGOs” in al-Hol,” the Coalition spokesperson said.
The SDF and Asayish captured a senior ISIS official in al-Hol camp on April 5, 2021. (Photo: Hawar News Agency)
The SDF and Asayish captured a senior ISIS official in al-Hol camp on April 5, 2021. (Photo: Hawar News Agency)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Asayish on Monday captured a leading Islamic State leader in the notorious al-Hol camp in northeast Syria.

The SDF and their linked Interior Security Forces (Asayish in Kurdish) found Ahmed Khoshua with information gathered during the recent security operation in the camp, Coalition spokesperson Col. Wayne Marotto said Tuesday.

The Syrian Kurdish Hawar News Agency (ANHA) reported that Khoshua, nicknamed Abu Khaled, was responsible for Islamic State cells in al-Hol.

“Abu Khaled is an Iraqi from Anbar Governorate, born in the city of al-Qaim 1992, and is considered one of the most dangerous leaders of ISIS cells in Al-Hol,” the ANHA report said.

Six other suspected Islamic State group members with Iraqi and Syrian backgrounds were arrested on Tuesday morning, including two women, Um al-Bara' and Um Mohamed, said to be part of  the Hisbah, (the self-imposed female morality police made up of women affiliated with the Islamic State), ANHA reported.

They were accused of harboring wanted persons and aiding Islamic State cells in the camp.

Although the SDF and Coalition announced the territorial defeat of the Islamic State in March 2019, sleeper cell attacks by the terrorist group persist in the liberated territories in an apparent campaign to destabilize the area.

On March 28, the SDF and the Asayish launched an operation in al-Hol to weed out Islamic State cells that have stepped up assassinations over the last few months.

On April 2, the Asayish General Command announced the arrest of 125 Islamic State suspects after ending the first phase of the al-Hol campaign.

Meanwhile, the campaign to weed out the group’s remaining adherents in the camp continues.

The majority of al-Hol’s residents are Iraqis and Syrians, but the camp also includes a large number of foreign families thought to be tied to the Islamic State. According to the United Nations, there are about 62,000 people still in the camp, including tens of thousands of women affiliated with the Islamic State group, along with their children.

Editing by Joane Stocker-Kelly