Members of the Kurdish militia named the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria have killed a female refugee for protesting against the militia’s policy of separating children from their mothers in a refugee camp in the north of the country.
According to the Turkish news site the Anadolu Agency which cited local sources yesterday, a group of female refugees were protesting against the poor conditions at the Al-Hawl camp and the YPG’s oppressive treatment after it begun separating children, aged 12 and under, from their mothers. The militant group then cracked down on the protests, killing one of the women in the process.
The camp, which is located in northern Syria, is a holding place for Syrian civilians who escaped the conflict taking place in the province of Deir ez-Zour, as well as for the families of former Daesh members and those of other groups. The vast majority of the displaced Syrians were reportedly brought to the camp forcefully by the YPG in April 2017.
The United Nations (UN) has previously repeatedly warned that Al-Hawl camp’s conditions are worsening every day, and has demanded access to the locations, camps and centres where the families of former Daesh members are being held.
The YPG, along with other Kurdish groups operating in northern and north-east Syria, have long been perceived by Western countries in particular to be the best and safest option of militant groups to cooperate with.
This death, however, is the latest in a line of atrocities which have come to light in recent months. In July, members of the Kurdish militia were recorded kidnapping, torturing and urinating on an Arab family passing through its territory, and in August another graphic video was leaked showing the YPG lashing and torturing two young men who had refused to join the forced military recruitment the group enforces. Further reports of the YPG raiding local towns and villages and kidnapping young men and children to join their forces abound throughout the recent years of the Syrian conflict.
Despite that, the Kurdish groups have been able to maintain a largely peaceful image of themselves throughout the conflict, have encouraging numerous Western individuals and military personnel to travel to the country to fight alongside the YPG and SDF, with little to no charges or prosecution over their decision once they return to their home countries.