By: Annet Preethi Furtado
June 2 2023
The video is from 2022 and depicts the rescue of Yazidi women from a displacement camp in Syria by members of the armed forces of Rojava.
In a viral 45-second video on social media, women in combat uniforms can be seen rescuing two captive women from a tent. This video has been shared extensively, with claims that it shows the "U.N. Army" successfully rescuing 38 women from ISIS tents. The posts claim that most rescued women were Hindus from India and Bangladesh. Certain social media users have associated this video with the controversial Indian film 'The Kerala Story,' suggesting it validates the movie's unsubstantiated claims. ‘The Kerala Story' claims to tell the stories of Hindu women in Kerala forcibly converted to Islam and inducted into the terror outfit ISIS. The film alleges that these women are victims of 'love jihad,' a right-wing conspiracy theory that says Muslim men entrap Hindu women to marry them and convert them to Islam.
The captions accompanying the video on various social media platforms featured identical claims, stating: "U.N. Army attacks ISIS tent, army and rescues 38 sex enslaved women from India and Bangladesh - majority Hindu girls. For those who don't believe *The Kerala Story* film, this is the proof. Look at the way the girls have been chained."
The viral video frame features a logo with a red star and the text: 'YPJ NAVENDA RAGIHANDINE.' We found that YPJ stands for the 'Women's Protection Units' on the Kurdish Project's website. the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) is the female brigade of the YPG, the armed forces of the Syrian region of Kurdistan or Rojava Kurdistan.
Through a reverse image search of a keyframe from the viral video, we discovered a September 2022 report by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Press Centre, which carried a screenshot of the viral video. The report stated that the YPJ released a video documenting the rescue of four chained women who showed signs of severe torture in a tent at an al-Hol camp. The latter is a displacement camp in Syria. However, the report did not disclose any details about the religious or national backgrounds of the victims.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, al-Hol is a displacement camp in Syria. Displacement camps in northeastern Syria hold Syrians, Iraqis, and other 'third country nationals,' including many with suspected family or other links to ISIS, and are known for violence, exploitation and abuse, and fresh radicalization.
The original video, lasting 7 minutes and 28 seconds, was uploaded on the SDF Press YouTube Channel. This is a longer version of the viral video. The Arabic video description explains that it was published by the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) with the purpose of documenting the liberation process of women who had suffered severe torture and were held captive in chains within a tent at the al-Hol camp. This operation was conducted as part of the second phase of the "Humanity and Security" campaign, a joint effort led by the Internal Security Forces, supported by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and international coalition forces, to combat ISIS.
In September 2022, the YPJ shared a Twitter thread featuring a 1.54-minute video highlighting the rescue operation. One of the tweets quoted YPJ commander Dilbirîn Kobane confirming the successful rescue of the four women who were held captive in a tent prison. Kobane said the women had endured forced early marriages, psychological trauma, torture, and death threats. The tweet highlighted the need for psychological therapy and reassured that the women were now in a secure environment, receiving the necessary care and support.
Furthermore, the fourth tweet in the thread emphasized that the rescued women were members of the Yazidi community. The Yazidi community is a Kurdish religious minority predominantly residing in northern Iraq, the Caucasus region, southeastern Turkey, northern Syria, and parts of Iran.
Moreover, it is to be noted that there is no body called the "U.N Army." The U.N. has no standing army or police force of its own. Instead, member states contribute military and police personnel required for each operation. Peacekeepers wear their countries’ uniforms and are identified as U.N. Peacekeepers by a blue helmet or beret and a badge.
Social media users have been sharing the viral video stating that it validates the unsubstantiated claims made in the movie 'The Kerala Story.’ However, this video is unrelated to the movie and does not provide any evidence or validation for its claims. Logically Facts found no evidence to support the claim that the victims in the video belonged to the Hindu community or hailed from India or Bangladesh.
No evidence is available to substantiate the claim that the video shows the "U.N. Army" rescuing women from a camp, who were from India or Bangladesh. The women who were rescued in the video were identified as Yazidi, a Kurdish minority group. Further, no body called the "U.N Army" exists, and the armed forces of Rojava rescued the women. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.