Middle East

Indonesia says probing report of death of pregnant woman in Syrian camp

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia is investigating a report that a pregnant Indonesian woman who had joined Islamic State died after allegedly being beaten and tortured in a refugee camp in Syria, a spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry said.

Hundreds of Indonesians are believed to have gone to join Islamic State and those who survived the conflict are mostly being held in camps in Syria under Kurdish authorities.

The Indonesian government has floated plans to repatriate citizens from the war-torn country, and enrol them in deradicalization programs, but concerns remain they may bring violent, extremist ideology or combat skills with them.

Teuku Faizasyah, a spokesman for the Indonesian foreign ministry, said the embassy in Damascus was trying to verify a report carried in the Kurdish Hawar news agency that the woman, who was reportedly six months pregnant, had been beaten to death in the al-Hol camp, which is home to thousands of refugees.

“The conflict and armed violence in Syria makes the verification process harder and complex,” he told Reuters in a text message.

Reporting by Jessica Damiana; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Ed Davies and Michael Perry

File photo: Women with newborn babies after they were evacuated by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo

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