BEIRUT/UNITED NATIONS – Islamic State insurgents have opened an office in northern Syria where single women and widows can register to marry fighters from the radical al-Qaida offshoot, a monitoring group said Monday.
The office in al-Bab, a town northeast of the city of Aleppo, records the names and addresses of the women so that Islamic State militants can go to their families and make a formal offer of marriage, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Observatory, which cited sources in al-Bab and Aleppo, is based in Britain and relies on a network of people on the ground in Syria to report information. It was not immediately possible to confirm the report independently.
There have been previous reports of militants seeking wives or forcing women to marry them in areas where the group has been active. The Observatory’s director, Rami Abdurrahman, said it was the first time he had heard of the group setting up a formal office to register potential spouses.
Elsewhere, the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned any sale of oil from Syria or Iraq by terrorist groups and reminded all countries that buying the illegally obtained oil violates U.N. sanctions.
A presidential statement approved by all 15 council members targets two terrorist groups already subject to U.N. sanctions: Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the most powerful Syrian rebel groups; and the Islamic State, which has seized a wide swath of territory in eastern Syria and western Iraq.
Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Moscow had evidence before it proposed the draft statement in late June that the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra “were engaged in the trade of oil” that was one source of financing for their terrorist activities.
The statement expresses “grave concern” at reports that these two groups have seized oil fields and pipelines in Syria and Iraq and warns that they could face further sanctions.