YPJ Spokesperson: Hol Camp is a threat to the world

YPJ Spokesperson Ruksen Mihemed speaks about the danger posed by the Hol Camp and the massive support Turkey is providing for the reorganisation of ISIS.

Since 25 August, an anti- ISIS operation led by Internal Security Forces (ISF) has been taking place in the Hol Camp. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Women's Defence Units (YPJ) are making an important contribution. During the operation so far, ISIS tunnel facilities, training facilities, prisons, torture centres, murder and torture tools, weapons and ammunition have been seized. Many suspected ISIS members have been arrested. Two SDF fighters were killed in a skirmish with Islamists on 7 September.

The YPJ conducted special operations to free women and were able to rescue two Yazidis and four other women from ISIS captivity. YPJ Spokesperson Ruksen Mihemed spoke to Mezopotamya agency (MA) about the ongoing operation. Mihemed pointed out that the operation in Hol Camp is the second phase. She recalled the importance of the struggle of Jiyan Tolhildan, who commanded the first phase of the operation last year, among others. Tolhildan, one of the pioneers against ISIS, was killed in a Turkish drone strike on 22 July 2022.

"Avert threat to region and world"

Ruksen Mihemed underlined how urgent the second phase of the operation is: "Hol is one of the most dangerous camps not only for northern and eastern Syria, but a threat to the whole world. There are ISIS families from 56 countries in the camp, there are murders and suicides. ISIS indoctrinates the children in the camp and thus a new generation of ISIS mercenaries grows up. If no measures are taken against the reorganisation of ISIS, we will face big problems tomorrow. As I said, this is not only a danger for us, but for all humanity. To prevent this, we saw it necessary to initiate the second phase."

"As long as ISIS exists, we will fight it"

Mihemed recalled the devastating attack by ISIS on the Sina prison in Hesekê on 20 January 2022 and stressed that their aim was to destroy ISIS: "To prevent similar things from happening again, the internal security forces, the SDF, YPG and YPJ have launched this operation. It is a task of historic importance. As long as ISIS exists, we will fight against it. In the past, we fought a huge battle against ISIS and crushed it as a territorial power. In the process, we were also supported by international powers. But at the moment, we are the only ones responsible for the camp. The international powers are only observing what is happening there. No one has taken a step towards taking back the ISIS families in the camp to their countries of origin or prosecuting them. That is one of the reasons why we launched the operation." 

"Turkey supports ISIS in every way"

Regarding the reorganisation of ISIS, the YPJ spokesperson said: " ISIS wants to avenge its defeat. To this end, it is trying to create a situation of instability in the region. It is supported in this by Turkey's attacks on the region. Turkey is preparing the ground for the reorganisation of ISIS and is providing great support to the ISIS cells organised in Hol Camp. Turkey supports these mercenaries in every way."

"Defending humanity"

Mihemed pointed to the leadership role of women in the revolution and highlighted the achievements in Rojava. This revolution is not just a local event for all peoples, she said, so the task of the defence forces is to "defend humanity".

"The danger is increasing"

Regarding the structures discovered during the operation, the commander stated: "ISIS hides both weapons and the bodies of murdered people in the tunnels. Places have been identified in the camp that are used by ISIS as court sites. Children are trained in the camp for the continuation of ISIS terror, the places where this happens have been identified. We have taken on this task to prevent the continuation of ISIS terror. But this is not only our duty, but it is also the duty of all the powers that say they are against ISIS. We are fulfilling our duty to defend humanity. But that is not enough, we need support. The ISIS families must return to their countries of origin. As long as these families are not taken back, a solution must be found to prevent them from organising. The danger is growing day by day and this must be prevented."

"Drying out the roots of ISIS "

According to the YPJ Spokesperson, security in the camp can hardly be guaranteed and is only maintained to a certain extent through the great willingness of the security forces to make sacrifices. However, the camp is a "bomb about to explode". Mihemed reported that items seized in the camp once again prove the close relationship between the Turkish state and ISIS: "The relationship between Turkey and ISIS is obvious. The weapons, clothes and money seized in the camp are the most concrete examples of this. Turkey is doing its best for the reconstruction of ISIS. If we want to destroy ISIS, we must hold Turkey accountable for its support. It is not possible to destroy ISIS without drying up its roots."

"Revenge for the Yazidi women"

In particular, she said, the liberation of Yazidi women held captive by ISIS gave the YPJ great morale: "The biggest success we achieved in the operation was the liberation of the women. As YPJ, we made a promise to the Yazidi women after the attack on Shengal in 2014. We promised to defend them. Since we made that promise, we have liberated thousands of women. This promise is still valid. We will avenge the Yazidi women. We will join them in demanding accountability for the massacres and trauma inflicted on them. As long as any Yazidi woman is abducted, we will continue our struggle. ISIS and Turkey wanted to erase the deep-rooted history of the Yazidi people, but we have not allowed that to happen so far and we will not continue to do so. Just as we have liberated thousands of women, we will continue to protect them in the future. The Yazidi women we have liberated will live a new, free life. As YPJ, it is our duty to liberate the women."

"Turkey must be brought to justice”

Mihemed concluded by saying: "Many of our friends have fallen in the fight against ISIS to defend humanity. Women who fought against ISIS were murdered by Turkey after defeating ISIS. All our friends who lost their lives for this cause had made their pledge and fell for the fulfilment of their mission. We promise them that we will take revenge for them. We will continue to walk the path they walked. We will fight to the last drop of our blood to destroy ISIS. ISIS no longer has territorial rule, but that does not mean it is over. It has cells working to reorganise. Turkey is openly supporting ISIS. If Turkey is not held accountable, ISIS will become an even more dangerous organisation than before. All international powers should pave the way for Turkey to be brought to justice to punish it."