Thursday 29 February 2024 - 22:34

The Bitter Tale of ISIS Brides

Story Code : 1119523
The Bitter Tale of ISIS Brides
Over five years have elapsed since the collapse of the harrowing caliphate of the ISIS terrorist group; nevertheless, many of the sufferings and issues from that period continue to afflict Syria and Iraq.

Among these concerns is the issue of "ISIS brides," which has evolved into a crisis for both Syria and Iraq.

Following the downfall of the violent ISIS empire, the majority of its fighters were either killed, captured, or went underground. However, ISIS families, comprising numerous women and children associated with the militants of this extremist group, found themselves in a state of uncertainty in specialized camps under supervision and care. The most renowned and populous of these camps is the Al-Hawl camp in Deir ez-Zor province, Syria.

In recent years and months, individuals who were citizens of Syria and Iraq have largely been identified and evacuated from the camps. Nonetheless, a significant number of nationals from other countries remain in the Al-Hawl camp as their countries of origin refuse to accept them.

Britain, Australia, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands are European countries that are revoking the citizenship of these women and refraining from accepting them despite their repeated pleas.

The recent case of a British-born ISIS woman having her citizenship revoked has reignited discussions about these women.

Shamima Begum, dubbed the "ISIS bride," is a British-born Bangladeshi woman currently residing in a camp in Syria. She was once again denied the possibility of returning to the UK after her citizenship was revoked in a recent retrial in England.

At the age of 15, Shamima fled from London in February 2015 with two other girls to Turkey and then to Syria to join ISIS.

Shamima connected with ISIS members through an application and married an ISIS member in Syria. She now expresses regret and alleges that she was deceived. The London court rejected her reconsideration request on February 23rd, which she had submitted in October last year.

Dozens of wives of ISIS fighters detained in two camps in Syria, who find their conditions even worse than those for "animals," are attempting to return to their countries through a similar process. However, Western governments have consistently denied and ignored their requests.

The English network Sky News reports in a piece titled "ISIS Brides" that dozens of women from foreign countries are still in the "Al-Hawl" and "Al-Roj" camps in northern Syria. These two camps were established under the supervision of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to accommodate tens of thousands of women and their children who either married ISIS members or were affiliated with the ISIS organization. Many of these women insisted that they and their children are being punished for the sins of their partners and parents. Many also claim to have been sexually assaulted or deceived to go to Syria and, in some cases, trafficked.

Sky News mentions that among the foreign women, citizens of Western countries are also present, often accompanied by their children in the "Al-Roj" camp, where they have endured extremely difficult living conditions and harsh weather without electricity over the past month. An Australian woman, a mother of three, who has chosen to remain anonymous, said she is still in the process of completing the legal procedures to return home, stating, "We are humans, not animals."

She continues, "Even an animal cannot bear these conditions. My son was almost dead last year, and my government is aware of this. Not only children but most women here are punished because of decisions made for them, decisions we did not make, despite the continuous communication we had with our government, yet, the government refrains from accepting that we are their citizens. we are still trapped in the camps."

A woman from Leeds, England, recounted how her husband, originally from Birmingham, persuaded her to go to Syria, where he was later killed. She appeals, urging, "Allow me to return. My entire family—my parents and siblings—reside in England, and I wish to come back and face trial there. I've been away for five years. I'm utterly exhausted and unwell." Last year, UN experts highlighted in a report that the large-scale detention of children in northeastern Syria, based on the potential actions of their parents, violates the explicit provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits any discrimination or punishment of children due to their parents' activities, beliefs, or convictions.

Another woman, "Zakia Kajar," spent 29 years in Germany, where she held a job and gave birth to two children. She reveals that her husband deceived her and sent her to Raqqa in Syria. She describes being coerced into marrying a man she neither knew nor liked, giving birth to two more children. She stresses that her youngest daughter, aged five, has never experienced life beyond the confines of the camp walls.

Despite these women feeling misled and expressing remorse, European governments still harbor concerns about their potential as security threats. For instance, a report from the non-governmental organization "GLOBSEC," headquartered in Slovakia, previously asserted that ISIS women pose a significant threat and are prepared to launch attacks at any moment.

This arises as reports from the United Nations and acknowledgments from the governments of Syria and Iraq indicate that without necessary intervention, camps such as Al-Hawl and similar facilities, resembling breeding grounds for ISIS militants, will pose a future threat and could present a significant security challenge to the stability of these countries and the region.

Although regarded as citizens of European countries, "ISIS brides" are still labeled as terrorists by policymakers and officials of these nations, who persist in withholding any assurances of human rights and citizenship for these women and their children.

European countries, citing the history of these women's affiliation with ISIS, assert that any governmental ties with these individuals have been severed. These authorities, by neglecting the right to life, abstain from advocating for a prohibition of their torture to the extent that they deny any rights for their young children. The officials of European countries not only fail to acknowledge the humanity of these women but also justify their own actions in permitting any brutal and inhumane treatment they may face.