AL-HOL CAMP, Syria (Reuters) – Foreign women with Islamic status have tried to attack others who consider "infidels" in a camp they are detained in north-eastern Syria, trying to impose their opinions even if the jihadists face the territorial defeat, They found Reuters journalists who visit the site.
A woman looks through a chain fence at the Al-Hol displacement camp in Hasaka Governorate, Syria, 8 March 2019. REUTERS / Issam Abdallah
"They shout to us that we are unfaithful to show our faces," said a Syrian woman at the camp of Al-Hol, where women and children were transferred from the final bastion of the Islamic State to eastern Syria. "They tried to hit us."
The Baghouz enclave is the last shred of territory populated by the Islamic state after years of attacks have overturned its ultra-radical "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq.
But his imminent defeat is facing the Syrian democratic forces of the US allies (SDF) with the problem of what to do with a growing number of people, many of whom are followers of the Islamic State, who emerge from the enclave.
Most were sent to Al-Hol camp, already overcrowded with uprooted Syrians and Iraqis. Camp officials say they do not have enough tents, food or medicine. Humanitarian workers warn against the spread of diseases and dozens of children have died along the way.
At least 62,000 people have flooded the camp, the UN said on Friday, well above its capabilities. More than 90% of new arrivals are women and children.
The Syrian Kurdish authorities who control the camp have telegraphed to foreign women. On Friday, dressed in black on the head and with full veils, they gathered behind a fence with a locked gate.
"Foreigners throw rocks, they swear to Syrians or Iraqis and camp officials, and children are threatening too," a security official told the camp.
& # 39; WE NEED HELP & # 39;
The guards fired into the air to break up some clashes and on one occasion they used a taser to pacify a foreign female jihadist inmate, another Syrian woman told the camp.
Some of the women who have come out of Baghouz in recent weeks have shown strong pro-Islamic sympathies.
Hundreds of jihadists have surrendered. But the Kurdish SDF believes that the most hardened are still inside, ready to fight to the death.
Before the final assault in Baghouz, the SDF declared that it held about 800 foreign militants of the Islamic State and 2,000 of their wives and children. Although it did not provide updated data, the numbers swelled, pushing new support requests.
"The situation in the camp is very miserable: displaced people are growing a lot and we are trying to cover people's needs as much as possible, but we need help," said Mazin Shekhi, a camp official.
When young children arrive alone, officials hand them over to relief agencies or try to find adults to take care of them at the camp for now, he added.
"Even the big tents are full, people are sleeping in the open."
The International Rescue Committee said that at least 100 people died, mostly children, along the way or shortly after reaching the camp, and over 100 children arrived alone. The rescue agency warned that the camp had reached the breaking point.
Women from different countries asked for food or asked questions about their detained husbands, while the young boys kicked a ball in the mud among dozens of tents that swayed in the wind.
Some of al-Hol's tensions reflect the friction that has been boiling for years among the jihadists who traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State, "al-Muhajirin", and local people who were members or lived under the his government.
"There were problems with some people," said a 30-year-old Turkestan woman who gave her the name Dilnor.
He said that his whole family moved to Syria to escape the oppression at home and "just wanted to live under the Caliphate". His mother, father and brothers all followed her to Syria.
"The natives … they were pretty rude, they always said muhajirins are a problem, dirty, etc. It's always been like that," he said outside the metal fence of the pen, where he was with dozens of other women.
"Now (they) are alone, and only the muhajirins, now there are no problems."
Shekhi, the camp official, said that foreign women with ties to the Islamic state were held aloof so they do not "mingle" with others. "We put them in a section on their own to keep them from problems with the displaced," he said.
Foreign women have often fought each other, he added.
"There are some who are more extremists who do not accept the others, this is happening only among themselves, because they are separated from the Syrians and the Iraqis," he said. "The situation is under control."
The loyal loyalty of the followers of the Islamic State indicates the risk that the group will continue to pose after the capture of Baghouz. It is also widely accepted that militants will still pose a threat, with remote areas of territory and guerrilla attacks.
Written by Tom Perry and Ellen Francis; Editing by Giles Elgood