SYRIA (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — At the Hul camp in northeastern Syria, Umm Osama hopes that the Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters will allow her to flee after the military operation raised hopes of ISIS supporters and fighters being held away.
“If the Turkish army breaks into the camp, we will leave,” said the 25-year-old Syrian, who left the last Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria months ago.
“We hope that the ‘Caliphate’ will be declared again because the Kurds are now weak but we will not leave without our husbands imprisoned,” she says proudly.
Osama is one of 70,000 IDPs and family members of ISIS fighters living in the Hul camp, including foreigners living in a heavily guarded private section.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, whose Kurdish fighters form the backbone, run three camps in northeastern Syria and seven prisons where thousands of jihadists have been detained in phases during US-backed battles against the group.
Since the beginning of the Turkish forces on the ninth of this month, an attack in northeastern Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces, which defeated the organization on the ground, feared that their departure to the fighting would negatively affect their efforts in pursuing its sleeper cells, as well as in the security of detention centers and overcrowded camps.
In the sphinx, elements of the Kurdish internal security forces (Asayish) guard the camp, which is spread by surveillance cameras, surrounded by trenches dug two meters deep, according to an AFP reporter.
Security forces are heavily armed in tents to check the situation after reports of a group of women preparing to flee, in recent attempts, according to the camp’s superintendents.
Women in black veils move quickly between the tents to avoid talking to journalists as children play with dust outside.
A Belgian woman said that the women who formed the police force “Hasba”, which was adopted by the organization in the areas of control, prevent women from talking.
“The situation in the camp is tragic and we are waiting for the opportunity to come out,” she said.
– “Trust Baghdadi” –
Hanan Hassan, 35, from the Iraqi city of Mosul, hopes to be able to leave soon.
“We have received information that there will be brothers coming soon to save us and we will return to the Islamic caliphate,” she told AFP. “We have confidence in the decisions of our successor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, because we live here in difficult circumstances and no one cares about us.”
In a September 16 audio recording, Baghdadi urged his members to “save” his fighters and their families, vowing to “avenge” them.
He said, “Prisons, prisons, soldiers of the caliphate (..) your brothers and sisters earnestly in rescuing them and tamping the walls of their handcuffs.”
At the entrance to the foreign women section of the Hul camp, young women in the Kurdish security forces search women and check their identities and belongings. They are accompanied by a doctor.
Veiled women are walking fast to avoid talking to the AFP team, after being instructed by Telegram from the extremist group not to conduct interviews, one of them said.
A woman who says that she is from Belgium, without mentioning her name, talks about difficult living conditions.
“The situation in the camp is tragic. There are no services and no concern for our children,” she told AFP. “We are waiting for the opportunity to get out of this camp.”
– “I’m not going” –
The Turkish offensive has raised fears of sleeper cells activating their activities and the escape of detainees and detainees. Several European countries have expressed grave concern over the fate of 2,500 to 3,000 foreigners out of 12,000 ISIS operatives in Kurdish jails. France and other countries are considering the possibility of transferring jihadists to Iraq for trial.
Since last week, there have been fleeing incidents and riots, Kurdish officials said.
“After Baghdadi’s call, after the Turkish attack, they have hope of getting out and attempts to attack security personnel in the camp have increased,” security official Laila Rizgar told AFP.
Women detained in the camp, according to Rizgar, continue to communicate with jihadists abroad, “who are instructed to launch attacks in the camp,” pointing out that during movements in the camp, they repeat the slogan “Caliphate is still to come.”
The Kurdish official feared that “the camp things will get out of control,” especially after “the number of guards in the camp and the deployment of barriers in the border areas and on the fronts.”
Unlike women who want to leave at the earliest opportunity, Um Sofiane, 32, from Toulouse, France, would prefer to stay in the camp unless covered by the Turkish offensive.
“I don’t know where to go,” says the mother of four, if the Turkish attack caused the Kurds to lose control of the Hul camp.
“I will stay here, they will not treat us badly, I will stay here and I will not go,” she said. “Even if life is difficult in the camp, I have not been tortured or beaten.”
France does not seem to be an option for Um Sofiane. “I don’t count on France, because it wants to take us,” she says.
The worst scenario remains for the French authorities to try to remove them from their children. “In France, I will go to jail, and even after I leave, I will not be able to take my children,” she says.
“Here I can live with my children.”
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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