Counterterrorism experts warn that leaving ISIS families in al-Hol camp in limbo is a dangerous long-term strategy

Ezidi 24 – Following

According to the website of the British newspaper “The Telegraph”,British female Islamic State (IS) suspects have been smuggled out of detention camps in northeast Syria, with some raising funds online to pay for further escapes, according to jihadist social media activity.

The newspaper has mentioned that, ” At least one British woman is among numerous European IS supporters who have broken out of Al Hol camp to reach rebel-held Idlib, where they can freely proselytise for the group.”

In a recent video published to Telegram channels and Facebook pages devoted to crowdfunding for Islamic State supporters detained by Syrian Kurdish forces, a woman identified as Maryam Al Britaniya “from UK” exhorts followers to donate money. The video was filmed in Harim city near the Turkish border in Idlib, according to Bellingcat senior investigator Nick Waters.

“Being sent out from the Islamic State to the camps was by far one of the worst moments of my life,” Maryam said, her face obscured by a black niqab.

And she continued, “It’s obligatory on you to free them,” the woman in the video says, wagging a gloved finger. “Help them and donate every month to help smuggle them out.”

The woman describes being smuggled out of a camp where she was detained for over a year after surrendering to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in fighting that killed her children. The western-backed group recaptured the last Islamic State (IS) territory in March last year.

Since then the Kurdish-led SDF has been left guarding prisons holding roughly 10,000 IS-affiliated men and nearly 70,000 mostly women and children in the sprawling Al Hol camp, with about 2,000 in the smaller Roj camp. Among the detainees are several dozen British women and about 60 British children, according to estimates by aid groups.

The newspaper also quoted sources specializing in following up extremist and terrorist organizations that, “many women were smuggled out of the al-Hol camp, which is supervised by the Syrian Democratic Forces by providing financial donations with the aim of providing various ways of escape and escape operations.”

It also has mentioned that, “Many western governments have ignored calls by the SDF and the United States to repatriate their citizens, leaving women and children lingering in deteriorating conditions in which hundreds have died from malnutrition and disease.”

According to what some websites have reported, “It is estimated that family smuggling costs about 12 thousand pounds (15 thousand dollars), while a post on social media stated that they need 3 thousand euros (3,500 dollars) to secure the escape of an ISIS terrorist.”

Counterterrorism experts have warned that leaving these prisoners in limbo is a dangerous long-term strategy.

For security forces I think it is in some way making their lives easier,” he said, as repatriation would require costly prosecutions and surveillance operations, according to Raffaello Pantucci, a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.

But this short-term tactic is a bad long-term strategy, Mr Pantucci argued.

“The worrisome thing is, the longer we leave them stuck in this limbo, and with kids in tow, frankly the more radical they’re going to get and the greater the threat they might pose,” he said.

“Either find a way of getting them in a court there [in Syria] or bring them home and get them in court and process them here,” he said. “Rather than have them be smuggled out and in a few years god knows where else they might show up.”

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