Women living in huge camps where tens of thousands of displaced Syrians have been herded have become some of ISIS's staunchest supporters, according to Defense One.
In a commentary, Elena Pokalova, an associate professor at the College of International Security Affairs of National Defense University in Washington, wrote that amid calls by the terrorist group for revenge after the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, "we must focus on a largely overlooked subset of its radicalized supporters: women."
"While security services have generally tended to approach women as victims, female participation in ISIS has evolved beyond caretakers and housewives," she wrote.
She reports, when ISIS was in retreat, many of its fighters and their family members ended up in Syrian Defense Forces detention facilities — with one of the largest, the al-Hol camp, holding 70,000 people.
"ISIS women residing in al-Hol and other camps are some of the group's staunchest supporters," she wrote. "These are not rank-and-file 'jihadi brides' who traveled to Syria and Iraq following a romantic dream.
"These are the women who truly believed in ISIS's ideology, who stayed with the group through the collapse of the territorial caliphate."
The New York Times has reported some of the women pray for the caliphate to return, while others are convinced ISIS will not end.
According to Pokalova, people dressed as security guards at the al-Hol camp have helped a number of ISIS women escape.
"Most of the escapees were from Europe and might have fled to Turkey," she wrote, but Voice of America has reported women among them might try to make their way back to European countries.
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