An Iraqi aid worker calls them a ticking time bomb. Almost 170 families are being held in isolation in the Shahama camp, near the city of Tikrit, without access to even a phone to check on their loved ones. Al-Monitor received permission from security forces to visit the camp and spoke with some of the people living there.“We were not with Daesh [Islamic State (IS)], and they never gave us anything,” Samara Musa said inside the almost empty tent she occupies with her nine children. Her husband was picked up by the Iraqi army because his brother was with IS. Musa said, however, “We opposed his decision.” Her brother-in-law is currently in Syria with the extremist group.
Shahama is the only official camp for the family of IS members in Iraq. While the war against IS rages, women, children and some elderly couples whose husbands, brothers, fathers and sons joined IS find themselves locked in Shahama, the Iraqi army having judged them guilty by association, without the involvement of a single court or judge. Protecting the community is the official reason given for their treatment, but the inmates appear to need protection as well, from members of the community seeking revenge.