AL-HOL, Syria — After announcing the end of the second phase of Operation Humanity and Security, a 24-day intensive operation to root out Islamic State (ISIS) cells in Al-Hol Refugee Camp, the Internal Security Forces (ISF) of North and East Syria have accused the Turkish NGO Bahar Organization of cooperating with ISIS elements in the camp and helping to smuggling in weapons.
During a press conference detailing the results of the operation, the ISF stated that they had arrested 226 individuals, including 36 extremist women involved in murder and terrorism offenses, uncovered 25 tunnels and hidden trenches, and confiscated the following weapons and other contraband material:
- 3 AK-pattern firearms with 10 magazines and 388 rounds of ammunition
- 1 RPG launcher with 2 shells
- 2 handguns
- 25 hand grenades
- 25 kg of TNT
- 11 silencers
- 9 quivers
- One Turkish military uniform
- Several sharp weapons (knives, daggers, bayonets, and torture instruments)
- Many communication devices
The ISF stated that the confiscated weapons originated from three sources: 1) Bahar Organization employees, 2) ISIS members who hid bombs and other weapons upon entering the camp, and 3) ISIS groups responsible for manufacturing blade weapons in the camp.
The ISF stated that they have uncovered solid evidence of the Bahar Organization’s role in assisting ISIS in the camp.
Bahar Organization, headquartered in Gaziantep, Turkey, defines itself as a local organization specialized in the rehabilitation of communities and is active in northern Syria and Iraq. The organization claims it is committed to human rights principles.
The ISF accused the organization’s employees of similar charges in early 2021.
During the press conference, ISF officials paid respect to two ISF members who martyred during Operation Humanity and Security, Jasour Khabat and Odai Juneidiah. They also highlighted that the beginning of the operation was postponed due to the threats and attacks on the region by Turkey.
In a seperate joint press conference with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Saturday, US Brig. Gen. Claude Tudor, Commander for the Combined Special Operations Joint Task Force – Levant (CSOJTFL) said that ISIS was prosecuting children and women in tents in the camp before Operation Humanity and Security.
Brig. Gen. Tudor also stated that there is no military solution to the long-term problem posed by ISIS and urged countries to repatriate their nationals still in the camp. He stressed the full commitment of the US-led International Coalition to support the SDF.
Member of the SDF General Command, Nowruz Ahmed, said, “First of all, we bow with respect and reverence for the martyrs of the operation and all the other martyrs who were martyred while fighting the ISIS terrorism.” She then hailed the support provided by the US-led International Coalition, calling for the international community to be aware of ISIS danger.
Al-Hol Refugee Camp, located 45km east of Hasakah city, houses approximately 55,000 individuals — roughly 29,000 Iraqis, 19,000 Syrians, 8,000 of other nationalities.