Qamishli (Syria) (AFP) – A woman was killed and dozens detained in a Kurdish-run camp in northeast Syria holding families of Islamic State group jihadists, a Kurdish official said.
Security incidents have been on the rise in the crowded camp of Al-Hol, which houses families of IS fighters among its 70,000 residents, with foreign women and their children separated from Syrian and Iraqi inhabitants.
“One woman was killed and six others were wounded in the sector reserved for foreign women,” an official of the Kurdish administration in semi-autonomous northeast Syria told AFP, declining to be named.
He said security forces detained 40 women from the foreigners’ section at the camp.
According to the source, IS women who had set up “courts” to try their peers had stabbed to death a woman whom the camp’s security personnel had been trying to rescue.
But local Kurdish news agency Anha gave a different account.
It said that an intervention by the security forces in the foreigners’ section triggered an exchange of fire with the women jihadists, which killed one of the foreigners.
There was no independent confirmation of either of these versions of events.
Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which led the ground offensive resulting in IS’ military defeat in Syria earlier this year, warned Monday of worsening conditions in Al-Hol camp.
The situation is “deteriorating sharply… Daesh (IS) militants have stepped up their regrouping efforts through women in the camp recently”, he tweeted.
“This is going to be very dangerous in future.”
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), for its part, said “tensions remain high in the camp with security incidents reported on a weekly basis”.
In March, the SDF announced the defeat of the “caliphate” which IS declared in 2014 over parts of Syria and Iraq, after the Kurdish-led force expelled the last jihadist fighters from a border village.
Tens of thousands of people, mostly women and children, were trucked to Kurdish-run camps in northeast Syria during the weeks-long campaign.
In total, some 12,000 foreigners — 4,000 women and 8,000 children — are now living in such camps, according to Kurdish authorities.