Human Rights

Syrian Hasaka … ISIS Children & wives from Europe and China

Behind the prison walls in northern Syria, thousands of men formerly belonging to ISIS are languishing, while their women and children are forgotten in detention camps in Hasaka governorate.

Alhawl Camp

The largest of these camps is The Alhawl Camp, where tens of thousands live in tents of white cloth that do not protect against the cold or the rain.

Children play in muddy roads and dirty ponds in the open spaces. Women wearing black niqab move in small groups, conspire or do daily work.

Most of the women refused to engage in an interview with Reuters and some responded rudely. But a woman who called herself Um Abdel Rahman agreed to speak.

Women from China

Speaking in weak English, she was from Hong Kong and came to the Middle East to join ISIS.

Abdul Rahman’s mother had a young son and her husband died in Baguz, the group’s last pocket in eastern Syria, before falling into the hands of U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in the spring of last year.

While her young son was sitting glued to her, she said she was in contact with her family in Hong Kong but did not want to return.

“The situation here is very difficult. This is not a house, it’s just a tent… But we all live (god willing) and everything will be fine hopefully.

Women from Europe

In contrast to Abdel Rahman’s mother, a Bosnian woman, a wife of an ISIS fighter, said she tried to escape several times with her family but failed, and during one of her attempts her husband and brother were arrested.

Kurdish forces bear the brunt of the burden of caring for detainees since the collapse of ISIS, and hundreds of foreigners are among those detained.

Syrian Hasaka ... ISIS Children & wives from Europe and China

Dealing with isil remnants is a thorny issue for countries whose citizens have travelled to fight with isil.

For example, many European States have hesitated to restore their citizens for fear of public reaction.

Many remnants of the organization wish to return to countries such as Belgium, Britain, France and Germany.

Europeans make up about 20% of the group’s fighters held by Kurdish armed groups, numbering about 10,000 in Syria.

Restoring citizens

Kurdish officials say they do not have sufficient resources to detain, investigate and prosecute so many prisoners, as well as to care for their families in the camps, and have repeatedly appealed to foreign states for the return of their citizens.

The fate of tens of thousands of ISIS detainees, women and children held by the Kurds is highly questionable.

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