The al Hawl camp was meant to be temporary but now exists as a hinterland of misery.
The Islamic State women and children inhabiting the Syrian camp are damned to be shunned by their countries of origin. They are unwanted and stateless.
The women are all covered in veils, their children scratch around their feet playing games in the dirt.
A smell of human excrement overpowers all other senses.
The stronger babies mewl as a cold winter wind blows through the huge camp, the weaker ones lie listless and malnourished in their mothers’ arms.
One would think it would be a place of regret, but it is not.
Most of the people here, who’ve fled the fighting from the last IS stronghold, are still fanatical.
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A woman, who says she’s from Idlib, tells me she believes a new Islamic State will rise from the ashes of the last and that it is the media who are to blame for making it look evil.
Some of the families here are foreigners who married IS fighters – the Western women may have covered their faces but their children often have blonde hair.
It is an incongruous sight amongst so many woman dressed head to toe in black.
What happens next to thousands of these families is proving a dilemma.
Kurdish authorities want them taken off their hands and are pleading for more help from the international community to maintain these camps.
Western governments – including Britain – seem satisfied to keep their unwanted citizens in northeastern Syria. But that will prove difficult as the battle winds down and more IS members emerge, demanding to return home.
The fight against Islamic State as a territorial entity, of course, is nearly over but defeating its perverse ideology will be much harder to achieve.
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