BEIRUT - Islamist rebels in eastern Syria have ordered women to put on the Islamic veil, warning that anyone not doing so would be held to account, in a concerted new attempt by hardliners to impose their strict views on society.

In a statement, an organization calling itself the Islamic Law Council of Deir al-Zor gave women until Saturday to don the face veil. It did not say what punishment would befall women who fail to comply with the order.

Armed Islamist groups have become the most powerful force in the almost three-year-old uprising against President Bashar Assad, who has long portrayed himself as the defender of a secular order in Syria.


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