Footage is being circulated among ISIS Telegram channels showing children and women held in northern Syria’s al-Hol refugee camp hoisting a makeshift ISIS flag and women separately vowing vengeance in the name of the terror group.
More than 75,000 people are housed at the internally displaced persons camp run by the Syrian Democratic Forces, including thousands of ISIS wives and children. Last month, about 800 ISIS family members were released from the camp after Kurdish officials determined they were not a security risk.
“I am happy to be released but I hope that the [Islamic] State is back, that it will rule us back again,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation quoted one released woman, Safaa Mumen. “The Islamic State will remain and it will even extend.”
Last month, ISIS supporters circulated a video of four women fully veiled in black standing inside a white tent, asking for an internet crowdfunding effort to help support women within al-Hol. The Arabic-language video was subtitled in German.
On July 3, an ISIS woman at the camp stabbed Kurdish guard Izzadin Ahmed; he survived the attack. Sheikh Mus Ahmed, who is in charge of the camp, told Kurdish news outlet Rudaw that the woman “had asked the camp administration to leave for shopping,” was granted permission and “was escorted out by a security member of the camp. But on the way, the ISIS woman stabbed the security member in the back.”
A curfew was imposed in response and camp officials were “disallowing exit from the camp from anyone until the woman is arrested,” he said. Separately, there have been reports of ISIS women torching the tents of displaced Syrian women for talking to men or being unveiled.
Last week, an ISIS flag appeared on a fence at the compound. And as ISIS cells around the globe have been releasing videos vowing renewed allegiance to leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a few days ago a 9-minute video was circulated showing a handful of black-clad women in a white tent holding the ISIS flag and calling themselves “mujahideen women” while voicing support for the reestablishment of the caliphate and vowing retribution for their captivity.
In the latest video posted Monday, a group of kids and veiled women cheer and film with their phones after a young boy scaled a camp lightpole to hoist an ISIS banner. It was circulated among ISIS supporters with the message, “This is not the end but the beginning, because our mothers and sisters know how to grow cubs to become fearless lions.”
— MOHAMMED HASSAN (@MHJournalist) July 16, 2019
Fabrizio Carboni, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Near and Middle East operations, told reporters this month that two-thirds of the residents at al-Hol are children. “It is just apocalyptic,” he said, telling countries to take back their nationals and warning that they must see “at one stage there will be a price to pay,” and “it is going to be higher” if they put off dealing with the issue.