Dec 13 (1/2): Dealing with ISIS, Dealing with Women & Children

Even beyond the scope of the “standard” humanitarian crisis, the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced peoples and refugees, the ethnic cleansing—all of that.

Not that that’s not bad; it’s horrible. But it’s something we understand. There’s more.

There is an insane humanitarian problem in Rojava the likes of which I don’t recall every having even read about before.

Like, take this for example. This is a problem.

Problem. Yes.

But nobody, nobody, has come even close to figuring out how to address the humanitarian crisis facing ISIS families.

Consider: ISIS children play in a flooded prison/refugee camp.

What in holy hell am I supposed to think about that?

But that’s just one evocative example of how the camps continue to suck and nobody knows what to do about it.

ANF News: “Women who reject the ISIS ideology in Hol Camp are murdered”
With the Turkish attacks, the violence in Hol Camp in northern Syria has also increased. ISIS jihadists take advantage of the chaos and murder women who reject the ISIS ideology, reports Behiye Hisên, security officer of the camp.

The Hol Camp, where many members of the ISIS are accommodated, lies about 45 kilometers east of the Hesekê city. Of the 71,000 people in the camp, 30,000 are ISIS members. The ISIS jihadists in the camp demonstrate again and again for Erdoğan and act more and more self-confident. The murders and attacks by ISIS women manifests the fact that Hol Camp is one of the most dangerous camps in the world. At the same time as the Turkish attack, ISIS women began to murder several people “because they did not live according to the rules of the ISIS”.

I understand all those words, but I think it is beyond any meaningful understanding for me for what it must be like to live like that. Tunnels, knives and riots: This Syrian camp holding thousands of Isis wives is at breaking point

A Turkish invasion of northern Syria has led to a collapse in security at a camp holding the foreign wives of Isis fighters. Richard Hall reports from Al Hol camp

The quiet of Al Hol camp in the afternoon belies the trouble that lurks beneath the surface.

In an annex of this sprawling facility reserved for some 10,000 foreign wives and children of Isis fighters from around the world, a mutiny is brewing.

Over the past few months, sharia courts have been set up by camp detainees still loyal to the terror group. There has been a spate of killings targeting those who do not abide by the laws set by those courts. Riots have broken out and guards have been attacked with knives.

Nearly nine months after the defeat of the Isis caliphate, camp authorities believe the terror state lives on in this barren settlement in the plains of northeast Syria.

The women detained here came from more than 50 countries to join Isis. Most of those countries, including Britain, are refusing to repatriate their citizens due to security fears.

armageddon scariest environment imaginable.gif

At least that’s as bad as things can get, right? Could it get any worse?


People around the globe are starting to pick up on this problem and realize it’s a thing.

But then what?

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs: SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC: North East Syria: Al Hol camp (PDF)

(I swear, sometimes I think that do-gooder types don’t even know what acronyms are, how they work, or what they’re good for.)

But seriously: What the fuck did people think was going to happen when the Caliphate was defeated?

Let’s also stop and consider: That last video is only making the case for repatriation; it’s not clear if that will happen or how.

That said, one thing that is interesting and a little cool is that nobody of any significance in the world outside of Turkey blames the Syrian Democratic Forces for this.

What the world should be recognizing, though, is how amazing it is that the SDF didn’t slaughter their ISIS prisoners for their own safety and that of their families. I’m not advocating that. But more than a few theories of political science will tell you that that’s what we should expect to happen.

It didn’t.

They did the right thing. And now they have a huge problem that they continue to pay a price for assuming. It’s a problem they shouldered while aiding the world with the fight against ISIS, and which they now continue to shoulder, mostly alone.

But after that, what happens gets a bit fuzzy, as this is obviously and indisputably a massive failure.

And that’s not even considering the creating the next Mexican Joker super-terrorist angle.

Like, how are these kids going to grow up? People drew up a plan for dealing with ISIS that didn’t consider the idea that they might have kids.

To be perfectly blunt: Serial rapists produce children.

It’s important to realize that thinking in terms of the camps does not even begin to grasp the significance and scope of the problem.

Like, keeping them alive is one thing. But what about giving them a life? Do we have to decide who even deserves to have a life? And if so, then who and how?

After what they’ve been through, especially for impressionable children, this is no small thing.

Consider the two pieces below. They basically describe an all out assault on the very foundations of civilization as I understand it.

Al-Jazeera: Futures under fire: Educating Syria’s children
Since the start of the war in 2011, the country has suffered the largest reversal of education progress ever recorded.

The education of Syria’s children has long since passed the crisis point.

Since the start of the war in 2011, the country has suffered the largest reversal of education progress ever recorded, as enrolment numbers have dropped dramatically. At least 1.7 million school-age Syrian children are not in school, with another 1.35 million at risk of dropping out. Before the crisis, Syria boasted a 98 percent enrolment rate in basic education.

According to UNICEF, there have been more than 4,000 attacks on schools since the war began. One in three schools has been damaged, destroyed or repurposed by both sides of the war, while at least 150,000 teachers have been killed or fled the country.

That’s the pedestrian version of the problem. Now consider:

Today’s vocab: sexual jihad

Al-Jazeera: Women under ISIL: The teacher

A teacher describes being made to teach children about war, and what happened to those who did not follow ISIL’s rules.

They only wanted us to teach the verses in the Quran about “jihad”, war and murder. We did not like children learning that. So, I tried to teach at home. I made a deal with some parents for small groups of students to come to my house.

But the mother of one of my students talked too much. The news spread from one person to another. And ISIL found out a teacher was teaching at home and was not following their instructions. They told my husband: “She’d better get training in ISIL’s laws and teach children at the mosque like we want. Or else …” It was a threat. I had no other choice.

During the training, we were constantly reminded that we were one of them and had to abide by their rules. They had our names and monitored us closely. We were now with them.

At the end of the training, we were given a private appointment. We were received one by one, and they made us take an oath. We did it in the presence of the emir’s wife. She was responsible for these kinds of things.

. . .

But even at home, I was on guard. It was forbidden for women to look out of the windows, or even open the windows or curtains. Even if a female neighbour came to visit me, I had to be fully covered. We always had to be fully covered. We were afraid that one of the women would gossip and give information about us.

. . .

For ISIL members, women served mainly to satisfy their sexual needs. And it was a way to have more children, to increase their numbers.

There were several kinds of marriages, such as sexual “jihad” or those with female prisoners of war. The female prisoners of war were sold to several men – emirs or fighters. Sexual “jihad”, on the other hand, is when a woman marries an emir or a fighter believing that God will reward her as if she had participated in the fighting.

There was a woman named Um al-Yaman. She oversaw all the marriage and sexual “jihad” matters. She had the girls’ names, ages and physical descriptions. She coordinated all this with the fighters and the emirs. The emirs preferred virgins. An emir has greater influence and power than a regular fighter. But they all had their specific requests for marriage; their own personal requirements.

When ISIL announced the creation of a new brigade, they wanted new members our age, women from the mosque. These women used any means possible to convince other women to enlist and take part in the fighting. They flattered them by telling them that they would be like men; that they would have authority, power and control – and of course, money. They offered them a lot of money. They used many tactics to convince them. They asked me to join a brigade they were setting up – a brigade of women of my generation – but I told them I had health issues. I used this excuse so they would not suspect me of being against them.

This is way above my pay grade. I have no idea what to do with this.

But somebody with some modicum of influence or power should have at least given it some thought by now.

It’s entirely not clear that that kind of thoughtfulness ever occurred. At least not by the political decision makers—there’s every reason from what we’ve seen of them in this conflict to believe that this stuff keeps military officers up at night. And probably Lindsey Graham, if you’ve been following this blog.

But as to the rest: Was no thought given to this?

And that is at once something that angers me, but perhaps even more, I find it completely unnerving.

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