Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator
Rola Al-Khatib, a journalist for Al-Hadath, and Al-Arabiya, media outlets from Saudi Arabia, were attacked by children at the Al-Hol camp in north-eastern Syria which houses ISIS families.
The children had been indoctrinated by their mothers to regard any female not wearing a black headscarf and full-length cloak as an ‘infidel’. The children threatened to kill the journalist. She explained to them she wanted to help them by interviewing them, but the children reacted violently.
The video shown by Al-Hadath on Saturday showed the children hurling insults at the reporter, calling her an infidel and showering her and her camera crew with stones.
Al-Khatib was reporting on conditions in the dangerous camp housing 62,000 people, who are the families of ISIS, mainly women, and children.
“I’m not carrying a gun or anything, I just want to talk to you, why do you say I’m infidel?” Al-Khatib asked.
“You should wear a hijab before we talk to you,” one of them said.
“What you are wearing is not hijab, not this color, it’s not black.”
She asked the children how would they react to the situation later, as adults, and they replied immediately: “We will kill you, we have prepared killings for infidels.”
The female ISIS ideology enforcers
The camps suffer from a female band of ISIS loyalists who are extremely radicalized and exert enormous pressure on the women and girls who do not conform to their dictates. There have been many murders in the camp which have been blamed on these fanatics. They slip into a tent at night and slit the throat of any woman or girl who fails to comply with their demands and dogma.
Shamina Begum claims she “had no choice but to say certain things” to journalists “because I lived in fear of these women coming to my tent one day and killing me and killing my baby.”
Al-Hol camp is a hell-hole housing 62,000 people living in dire conditions with children from 60 different countries. The camp houses mainly foreign families of ISIS and the children are being raised indoctrinated with extremist ideology.
Radical Islam is neither a religion nor a sect; it is a political ideology. ISIS is only one of many groups following Radical Islam; others include Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Dozens of murders have occurred at the camp and are thought to have been carried out by female extremists who target other females of all ages for failing to follow the strict orders and ideology.
These women and children were among the last remaining ISIS families to be captured after years of living rough in the Syrian desert. Their fight is over, but their rejection of peace continues. They are waging a psychological war against the world and in defiance of all laws. They do not represent Islam, or Muslims, but only represent themselves and their death cult.
The camp is administered by the Kurdish separatist militia SDF, who were partners with the US military in the past fight to defeat ISIS.
Camp manager Nora Abdo of the SDF said Roj camp houses 2,618 persons and is more secure and better provisioned than Al-Hol camp. Abdo said her biggest concern was the children growing up in the camp abandoned by their governments.
“When they grow up they will hate their homeland, and this will have consequences,” she said. “This should not be their life. What about their future?”
Spanish director Alba Sotorra went to Roj camp in March 2019 and shot a film, “The Return: Life After ISIS,” a documentary shown at the online Texas-based South By Southwest festival. The film features the British ISIS bride Shamina Begum as well as other women from Canada, the US, France, and Germany.
Begum said in the film, “I would say to the people in the UK, give me a second chance because I was still young when I left.”
Begum was a teenager in 2015 when she left Britain with two other girls to travel to Syria to become an ISIS bride. She married an ISIS fighter from the Netherlands, and is now a widow, and has lost all three children she bore.
Britain’s Supreme Court rejected Begum’s bid to return to challenge a decision stripping her citizenship on national security grounds. Five Supreme Court justices unanimously turned down her request to be able to return to the UK to fight for her citizenship to be restored. Their judgment came six years after the then 15-year-old left east London with friends to join ISIS.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel welcomed the news, saying it “reaffirmed the home secretary’s authority to make vital national security decisions”.
Begum was discovered by British journalists in 2019 in a camp, but her defiant lack of remorse drew outrage from the British public and leaders alike.
The Kurds as prison guards
Both camps, Roj and Al-Hol, are administered by the US-backed Kurdish separatist militia SDF.
President Trump gave President Erdogan of Turkey the green-light to invade Syria to fight the SDF, which Turkey regards as terrorists, aligned with the PKK. In October 2019, an estimated 750 ISIS fighters and their women and children escaped from Ain Issa camp where they had been housed. During the chaos of the invasion, the Kurds were unable to properly secure the inmates of the camp. Those ISIS men and their families may have made their way through Turkey, who is in support of ISIS, and possibly have found their way on the smuggling boats from Turkey to Europe.
The US-Kurdish alliance
The US illegally invaded Syria during their fight to defeat ISIS. The Syrian Arab Army and their Russian allies were already fighting ISIS in Syria, but the US refused to coordinate with the two large and powerful military groups already on the ground. Instead, the US partnered with a small militia, SDF, which are Syrian Kurdish separatists, which Turkey views as terrorists. It was the Russians who bombed the caravans of stolen oil which kept ISIS financed by selling to President Erdogan.
Western IS brides await going home
Begum and fellow Westerners including the American Hoda Muthana portray an apologetic tone in Sotorra’s film.
“It was known that Syria was a warzone and I still traveled into it with my children — now how I did this I really don’t know looking back,” says one Western woman.
“I will never be able to understand how a woman from the West can take this decision of leaving everything behind to join a group that is committing the atrocities that Daesh is committing,” Sotorra told AFP.
On March 14 Begum was photographed in Roj camp wearing western clothes. Gone were the headscarf and cloak, as she wore a t-shirt and sunglasses. It was obvious she is trying to change her image from an ISIS loyalist to a typical British young woman who seeks to return home. She shook hands with The Telegraph journalist but refused to be interviewed due to legal advice.
Radical Islamic ideology
While ISIS may have been defeated on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, their ideology remains and continues to attract followers, as well as retaining the ISIS loyalists in the camps who are mainly sisters, wives, widows, and mothers.
Experts have warned that the Al-Hol camp and others have become an incubator for extremism. The female ISIS ideological warrior is teaching their children to grow up to take revenge on everyone who is not exactly like them. ISIS has been termed a death-cult and a fascist ideology. There is still no comprehensive plan on how to deal with the women and children in the various camps in Syria. Similarly, the US-run Guantanamo Bay facility has inmates who have been all but forgotten.