Doris Strub Epstein
Al-Hawl, a UN displaced persons camp in Syria, housing thousands of women and children from the defeated Islamic State, sprawls across the dusty landscape. “It’s a time bomb waiting to go off,” said General Mazloum Kobani of the Syrian Democratic forces (SDF), the Western backed , Kurdish group responsible for administering much of the Islamic State’s former territory. In an article in the Guardian, the camp was reported to be an incubator for the resurgence of the Islamic State.
Six month after the defeat of ISIS, the al- Hawl camp is becoming a source of radicalization and fear. While the men of ISIS are imprisoned elsewhere, their families -thousands of their women are continuing to impose their ideology and reinforcing it with beatings and other brutality. “We can contain the women but not the their ideology,” said an intelligence official to the Washington Post journalists who visited the camp. “There are many types of people here, but some of them were princesses among ISIS. There are spaces inside the camp that are like an academy for them now.”
These ISIS women have brought with them the Yezidi girls and children they kidnapped and enslaved five years ago, according to Mirza Ismail, Chairperson Yezidi Human Rights Organization International. On Thursday, August 22, a young Yezidi girl tried to escape. The ISIS women inside the camp learned of her plan and they beat her to death. “Why is the UN giving cover and helping these women (in the camp) which is meant for victims not the perpetrators of genocide? The ISIS women are just as brutal as their men.” He says in anguish.
Several weeks ago , a visiting group of Yezidis pleaded to go into the al -Hawl camp to find and free the captives. But the camp authorities refused their request to enter.
A girl who was able to escape the camp, said she was on the list to be transferred to Turkey for organ harvesting. Ismail is outraged that the “The international community is totally silent about the Yezidi slaves in al- Hawl camp.”
More than 40,000 Yezidis are currently languishing in UN refugee camps in Syria and Turkey, where they are abused by the Muslim authorities in charge, denied food and medication. Many are terrified to identify themselves as Yezidi to the authorities, pretending they are Muslims, because most of their fellow inmates are former ISIS supporters, and because the staff are either Kurdish or Arab speakers who have a long- time hatred of the Yezidi people.
Ismail is appealing to the “free world” to demand entry into the camp with reliable leadership such as himself, to rescue the remaining Yezidi slaves before they are sent to Turkey where over 700 Yezidi child slaves have been take by ISIS and where many have been used for organ transplants.
A video posted online in July shows several women, dressed in black, fully veiled burquas, holding ISIS’a black and white banner. They said they were sending a message from al-Hawl. “Brothers”, one says, “light the fire of jihad and free us from these prisons.” She continues talking to “the enemies of God,” saying, “You think you have us imrisoned in your rotten camp. But we are a ticking bomb. Just you wait and see.”