Members of the Kurdish police force known as Asayish were attacked early Friday, October 11 by women in a camp housing thousands of foreign female Islamic State adherents, a camp official said.
A protest that began around 6 a.m. developed into a melee with women throwing stones and attacking the Asayish, said the official identified by the Rojava Information Center as Eylul.
Contrary to early reports, the official said no one escaped, but added they were likely trying to get past the police force and out of the camp.
Five women were arrested, he said.
Security in al-Hol, already tenuous, has been called into question following the start of “Operation Peace Spring,” Turkey’s incursion into northeast Syria on October 9.
The camp houses more than 70,000 people, more than half of them children. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urged his supporters in an audio message last month to free the women in al-Hol, and the camp has lately been marked by sporadic but increasing violence from women against those deemed not adhering to strict Islamic principles, or against security forces, sometimes in an attempt to escape.
In a phone call on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mark Esper urged his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar to “discontinue actions in northeastern Syria,” warning that it could risk “the progress” made by the Coalition against ISIS, the Pentagon said.
The al-Hol military council said it would deploy forces to support Syrian Democratic Forces fighters under attack along the Syria-Turkey border, and other military councils, including the Christian Syriac Military Council, have said they will defend the area from Turkey-backed fighters.
SDF spokesperson Kino Gabriel told The Defense Post prior to Turkey’s incursion that the force could not guarantee the security of al-Hol or the prisons where thousands of ISIS fighters are detained if it had to focus on the invasion.
But the home countries of ISIS fighters and female adherents women’s have been reluctant to repatriate any of them from Syria and Iraq, and few children have been brought home – mostly orphans from Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that two male ISIS suspects, part of the notorious British group known as The Beatles, were taken into U.S. custody to prevent them escaping in any chaos following Turkey’s incursion. A defense official told The Defense Post that the two had been removed from Syria and were in military custody, but declined to say whether they would be brought to the United States for trial.
The pair, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, could face capital charges in the state of Virginia for their part in executing foreign ISIS hostages, including Americans, the Telegraph reported on Friday.
Esper said Friday that Elsheikh and Kotey were still in the region.