Hardline jihadi rebels continue to try to impose sharia law in the parts of Syria where they operate, the latest report being that they are ordering women to appear in public only if wearing an Islamic veil.

Reuters reported that the Islamic Law Council of Deir al-Zor issued a statement saying women had until Saturday to cover up their faces when appearing in public. It did not specify what punishment they might otherwise face.

“Given that sins are the main reason delaying victory, the legal council in the town of Deir al-Zor is obliged to promote virtue and prevent vice,” the statement read.

A woman wearing a face veil. (File photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman wearing a face veil. (File photo: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

According to Reuters, the statement was posted on Facebook and reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Human Rights Watch published a study last month reporting that Islamist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Al Nusra Front were forcing women and girls to cover up with a veil and loose, full-length robes in northern and northeastern Syria.

“In some areas, the groups are imposing discriminatory measures prohibiting women and girls, particularly those who do not abide by the dress code, from moving freely in public, working, and attending school,” Human Rights Watch said last month.

Among the many examples of the efforts by hardline jihadi rebels to impose sharia law even without deposing President Bashar Assad are: the sentencing of a man to beating with a metal pipe and the killing of a 14-year-old Syrian boy last year who had made a joke referring to the prophet Muhammad.

In some areas, rebels have tried to put an Islamic stamp on day-to-day issues including marriage, divorce and the licensing of vehicles, the Washington Post reported last year.

In January, Reuters reported that ISIL had issued orders in the northern province of Raqqa prohibiting the playing of music outdoors, the display of photographs of people in shop windows, and the sale of cigarettes. It also ordered all men to attend Friday Muslim prayers.