National security experts are warning that camps in northern Syria that house the wives and children of ISIS fighters are a serious national security threat as those children are starting to turn into military-aged males who have been indoctrinated by their militant mothers and hardened by violence in the camps.
A recent report in The New York Times on Al Hol detention camp highlighted how the camp is becoming a breeding ground for terrorism for the tens of thousands of women and children of dead or captured ISIS fighters.
Out of the women and children at the camp, which constitute more than 90% of the camp, more than half are children under the age of 12.
The report said that the children are “surrounded by hard-line, militant women” and that many of them have to be transferred to wartime prisons for ISIS fighters because of how violent and radical they become. Experts are growing increasingly concerned that the camp is turning into a networking space for adolescents who are becoming terrorists.
The network of prisons, which are controlled by Kurdish forces, house approximately 10,000 adult males, which the report states are “suspected ISIS fighters” whose countries of origin do not want to repatriate them.
The report added that a significant part of the threat presented by the camps comes from the fact that the Kurdish forces who provide security at the camps are allied with a group that Turkey considers to be a terrorist group.
Turkey has attacked the group, the Syrian Democratic Forces, which causes the area to become destabilized and could lead to ISIS fighters escaping prisons if prison guards are having to be deployed to fight against Turkish forces.
Brig. Gen. Claude K. Tudor Jr. of the Air Force, the commander of the Special Operations task force working to defeat ISIS, told the Times, “If a Turkish attack in fact comes down, we’re going to potentially have ISIS 2.0.”
The report warned that ISIS has tried to attack prisons in the area recently to try to set its fighters free.
It further warned that those who are responsible for operating and securing the camps and prisons do not have solid information about everyone in their facilities, thus further leading to a potentially destabilizing situation that could metastasize.