On 9.12.22 YPJ commander Viyan Adar spoke at an online panel organized by the YPJ Information & Documentation Office. In her speech, she gave insight and evidence on Turkey’s coordination with ISIS families in al-Hol camp and warned about destabilizing international security caused by a possible ISIS resurgence if the on-going Turkish attacks won’t stop. The panel, moderated by Meghan Bodette from Kurdish Peace Institute, can be watched on YouTube.
Link to original video (including pictures of murdered children): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs4EYtnznP8
Link to video with pictures depicting violence blurred: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuLt1vTw7_M
Turkey creating opportunity for ISIS members to break free from detention
Viyan began by giving evidence of the break-out attempt from al-Hol camp by showing photographs from CCTV cameras shortly after the moment when Turkey was bombing the Internal Security Forces in charge of guarding the camp. She explained that the Turkish attacks targeting the surroundings of places where ISIS members are detained, should be understood well: “These attacks on the Security Forces who are guarding the camps and prisons need to be understood for what they are. The ones who are attacking these places are sending a clear message. They want this terrorist organisation to reorganize, strengthen itself, and spread over the whole world to became a global threat. We want to draw attention to the evidence in our hands. We have documents that show the coordination with the women inside the camps through an NGO called IHH. We have voice recordings of these communications. This is proven. They say ‘We are preparing ourselves.’. There have been escape attempts before, but these are increasing now. There are more escape attempts because they found opportunities they can use to flee. When the bombings took place, inside the camp the women were dancing, they were happy. For them it felt like: ‘Strong support came to us.’, ‘We will be able to escape now.’, ‘A force came to protect us.’. This is how they understand these attacks.”
Viyan continued mentioning the security threat that Turkish drones are posing when hovering over the camp. This leads to the Security Forces need to save places from possible bombings, which creates opportunities for ISIS families to flee. Additionally, next to the camp, an ISIS prison was targeted in Qamishlo. She draws attention to the destination ISIS members are seeking to flee to, namely the Turkish occupied areas in Northern Syria like Serekaniye or Idlib.
She continues: “The forces who are hunting down ISIS cells, like our Anti-Terror-Units ‘YAT’ who are stationed next to Coalition forces, have also been targeted. Not just the forces who are guarding the camps and prisons. Those who are carrying out special operations against leaders of ISIS with the aim of taking them down and to stop the spread of their ideology, have been targeted. How should we understand this? That the forces who are committed to dismantle ISIS cells are being targeted? It is a clear message they are sending: No one should fight ISIS. With attacking those forces, Turkey wants to say this: No one should fight against ISIS. ISIS should restructure, reorganize and become strong again.”
Viyan informs the audience about a recent escape attempt where women and children escaped from al-Hol camp but were detained again afterwards. Next to al-Hol camp, ISIS women at Roj camp were also responding to the Turkish attacks. They held demonstrations inside the camp celebrating the Turkish attacks. The YPJ commander sees this as evidence that Turkey’s attacks are a hope for ISIS.
How Turkey’s escalation influences the situation in al-Hol camp
Viyan says that the al-Hol Camp functions as a place where women are educating small children with ISIS ideology. She shows pictures of ISIS propaganda and education material that were found in several languages in the camp. To prove the connection of the women in the camp with ISIS, she shows a picture from a CCTV camera that was made just some days after the “Humanity & Security” campaign against ISIS cells inside al-Hol camp. It shows a hoisted ISIS flag inside the camp. Just some days before the online panel, ISIS women inside the camp hang up a self-made banner with a pledge of allegiance to new ISIS leader Abu al-Hussain al-Hussaini al-Qurashi.
On 6th of November 2022 one of the ISIS members tried to attack a shop-owner inside the camp with a weapon but was detained before he could carry out his plan. Viyan explains that murders are used to silence those who don’t want to obey the radical ideology of ISIS. She shows another picture of a body with traces of torture that happened in the camp and mentions that also a woman has been beheaded.
The Cubs of the Caliphate – the next generation of ISIS jihadists
27.000 children, so-called “Cubs of the Caliphate” are in al-Hol camp. Viyan explains that ISIS women are forcing teenage boys to marry them in order to create a new generation of ISIS jihadists. As evidence she shows a picture of women in the camp with their small children. These women came to al-Hol camp after the so-called caliphate was defeated in Baghouz in March 2019. It is visible that the children on the picture were born in the time when the women have already been in the camp, in a section where no men are allowed. Viyan explains how the Cubs of the Caliphate at the age of 14, 15 or 16 are used for sexual reproduction and condemns this method as a violation of human rights.
As further evidence on the dire situation for children in the camp, she shows pictures that the children there were drawing. You can see the camp with a hoisted ISIS flag and weapons. Viyan shows them by saying “These are their imagination.”. Also a picture of a self-made toy weapon that was made by the children is shown. She continues, by saying “They don’t know anything else, they are learning how to attack NGO’s.” and showing a place where children attacked a places of an NGO that provides supplies for the camp.
To give insight about what’s going on in the camp she shows pictures of children training in camp. She says that physical education is given to children in the camp in order to prepare them for the future. She warns: “We are facing a big threat, a new generation of young people are preparing for the future of the Islamic State. This generation are a danger to the whole world. These young people are able to murder children. Many times in the market inside the camp weapons were given into the hands of the Cubs of the Caliphate. Murders were carried out. Some of them got caught, some not. Two children were murdered in the annex of the camp, the section of the camp where foreigners and Europeans are. Two orphans. Why they were murdered? How they were murdered? The Internal Security Forces found their bodies. This was not long ago. It was only around a month ago. This is all happening inside the camp. This all happened not a long time ago. These are incidents that are happening now.”
Viyan ends her speech emphasizing the risk of the new ISIS generation that is being educated and trained in the camp. She says that everyone who is preventing their fight against ISIS, is supporting ISIS. This is why the international community must have a strong stance against the on-going Turkish attacks.
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