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10/01/2019 Syria (International Christian Concern) – An armed clash yesterday between Hisba women and security forces in Syria’s al-Hol camp led to the death of one, the injuries of seven, and the arrest of 50. The al-Hol camp houses nearly 70,000 people who were detained following the defeat of ISIS in Syria, mostly women and children. The camp is regarded as the most dangerous in the world.

Last month the leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi, released an audio message which encouraged militants to strengthen their ideology and work to release their detained family members. The message was framed using anti-Christian language. Since the audio message’s release, it has been expected that detainment camps such as al-Hol would become stronger in ISIS’ ideology.

Secret religious police, the Hisba, have long been active in al-Hol. The riots occurred when security forces prevented the Hisba from openly whipping another woman. The ISIS-affiliated women then began resisting the security forces with light weaponry, including guns. The security forces prevailed and 50 women were subsequently arrested. There is significant concern about how firearms were smuggled into the camp. Shortly afterwards, two Hisba women stabbed an Iraqi man, seriously injuring him. The reason is not known.

Al-Hol camp is run by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who have long complained that they do not have the capacity to fully maintain the camp’s security, not to mention humanitarian supplies. This has prompted negotiations on how to proceed with repatriating these members back to their home countries, or whether they should just be released. Monday’s riot is one of the more serious security incidents to have happened in the camp since the defeat of ISIS earlier this year.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]