Crime & Justice

Al-Hol security nab 'dangerous' woman on terror charges

By Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo

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Umm Hamza is searched for weapons by a special forces unit in al-Hol camp shortly after her arrest. [Photo courtesy of Deir Ezzor 24]

A special forces unit of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Monday (April 6th) arrested a woman they describe as one of the most dangerous in al-Hol camp on terrorism charges, an SDF officer said.

The SDF is tasked with maintaining security at the overcrowded desert camp in eastern Syria's al-Hasakeh province, where many families linked to the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) are being held.

The woman, known as Umm Hamza, is accused of burning tents, assault and battery, stabbing a guard and continuing to disseminate the ideology of ISIS.

SDF officer Farhad Khoja told Diyaruna that a special forces anti-terror unit of the SDF had arrested Umm Hamza, who is a member of the self-appointed hesba ("religious police") apparatus operating inside the camp.

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The woman known as Umm Hamza has been arrested on numerous charges, including stabbing a guard, burning tents and disseminating ISIS’s ideology. [Photo courtesy of Deir Ezzor 24]

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Umm Hamza is led to al-Hol camp's detention room before her transfer to a terrorist detention centre. [Photo courtesy of Deir Ezzor 24]

The hesba women have taken it upon themselves to enforce ISIS's harsh rules inside the camp, to promote the group's hardline ideology and to mete out punishment to perceived offenders.

Umm Hamza was arrested following investigations conducted by camp security forces into a number of recent violent incidents, Khoja said.

"The charges leveled against Umm Hamza are numerous and include the continued dissemination of ISIS's ideology, incitement of violence, and perpetration of violent attacks in the camp against women and civilians," he said.

"Umm Hamza also has been accused of burning tents, stabbing a camp guard and planning an escape attempt with a group of women who were being held in al-Hol on terrorism charges," he said.

Umm Hamza's arrest is likely to lead to the identification of the remaining members of the hardline group who are carrying out acts of intimidation and terrorism in the camp, Khoja said.

"Camp security forces began to zero in on Umm Hamza about two weeks ago, after they thwarted an escape attempt involving more than 10 ISIS women of various nationalities who were being held on terrorism charges, and their children," he said.

Khoja said the arrest and isolation of the women in question will restore calm to the camp and put an end to the attacks.

Most importantly, he added, it will stop the dissemination of ISIS's toxic ideology among the camp's residents.

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