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Syrians Were Allowed To Leave Al-Hol Camp

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Syrians Were Allowed To Leave Al-Hol Camp

The al-Hol camp. Source: Anadolu Agency

Kurdish local authorities announced that thousands of Syrians, including families of ISIS jihadists group, would be freed from the Al Hol refugee camp in northeastern Syria.

According to Ilham Ahmed, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council, the political arm of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Arab-Kurdish forces decided to release Syrian citizens detained in the al-Hol camp. This decision was taken on September 5 at a meeting of the Council in the city of Raqqa.

“Syrians will leave the Al Hawl camp and only foreigners will stay there,” Riyad Derar, co-chairman of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political assembly of the Kurdish-dominated military coalition that controls northeastern Syria, told AFP.

“The Syrian families of ISIS fighters will also be released,” he added.

No details on the mechanism or timing of the initiative were provided.

The Iraqis were also allowed to leave the camp but many of them prefer to stay, fearing jail in Iraq for their alleged links to ISIS.

The Al Hol camp, which is located in eastern al-Hasakah, is hosting 67,000 people, including 40,000 family members of ISIS fighters. 24,300 are from Syria while about 30,000 are believed to be from Iraq. Another 10,000 camp residents from other countries, almost all of them connected to ISIS foreign fighters, will remain at al-Hol.  Some of them are internally displaced persons who have fled the fighting of Kurdish forces against ISIS and had nowhere to go, others are relatives of jihadists.

The SDF is running the camp with support from the U.S.-led coalition.

In recent months, Kurdish authorities have released Syrian families following mediation with tribal leaders. Since the summer of 2019, some 4,345 Syrians have left Al Hol, according to the UN.

The Al Hol camp has witnessed several security incidents in recent months involving ISIS supporters, including escape attempts and attacks on guards or NGO employees.

Despite the lack of security, the al-Howl camp is overpopulated and there are poor life conditions as well as the lack of medical care. On August 6, the first cases of SARS-COV-2 were also reported in the camp.

One of the reasons for such a large-scale amnesty was the high cost of prisoners maintaining. The purchase, delivery of water and food is the responsibility of the administration of the SDF. The camp is planned to be completely re-equipped for the detention of foreign relatives of ISIS militants.

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