BEIRUT (Reuters) – Women affiliated with Islamic State attacked security offices with sticks and stones on Friday during unrest at a camp where they were held by Kurdish-led forces in northeastern Syria, the region where Turkey has launched attacks, a Syrian Kurdish official said.
The incident at al-Hol camp started in the foreigners’ section and involved more people than during previous trouble at the camp, said Marvan Qamishlo, a media official with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
A video of the disturbance, distributed by the SDF and shot from a distance, showed around 20 fully covered women running in open space with several men appearing to pursue them.
The camp is holding tens of thousands of people, nearly all of them women and children who were transferred from Islamic State territory captured by the U.S.-backed SDF earlier this year.
On Thursday, a Kurdish official warned that Islamic State detainees could break out of detention as Kurdish-led security forces confront a new Turkish offensive in northern Syria and their ability to guard detainees is weakened.
“The Daesh (Islamic State) women rose against the internal security forces at al-Hol, they set ablaze tents and attacked the administrative and security offices there with stones and sticks,” Qamishlo said.
Qamishlo said there had been similar, although smaller, outbreaks of unrest before. “But this time it seems it was coordinated, based on the numbers,” he said.
He did not know exactly how many people were involved but said it was at least in the hundreds. The situation was under control but tense.
Aid agencies have reported tension and insecurity in the camp, which is housing about 68,000 people.
Last month, Médecins Sans Frontières said its teams had treated four women for gunshot wounds after protests by women and children were met with force by the camp security.
Human Rights Watch said in July more than 11,000 foreign women and children were being held in appalling and sometimes deadly conditions at the camp. At least 7,000 of the children were under 12.
Reporting by Tom Perry; Editing by Giles Elgood