More Syrians leave notorious Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria


More Syrians leave notorious Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria

2019/12/03 | 03:00 - Source: kurdistan 24

(ThisDay | Iraq News Now)- ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The local authorities in northeastern Syria allowed 398 displaced civilians from the notorious al-Hol camp, which also hosts foreign Islamic State families, to return to their homes.

The local Self-Administration of North and East Syria said those who intended to return to their homes would be allowed to leave once they receive a guarantee from leaders of their tribes.

So far, 398 civilians (62 families) from Deir al-Zor have left.

On November 24, 111 families from Raqqa had left the al-Hol camp and returned to their homes.

Most of them were women and children.

The Al-Hol Camp Management has allocated vehicles for the transportation of displaced civilians in attempts to alleviate the humanitarian demands on the already strained administration. 

Omar Abu Layla, the Germany-based executive director of Deir al-Zor 24, told Kurdistan 24 that “there are still many civilians from Deir al-Zor in al-Hol camp, and those who left are just a small number.”

He also added that most of the Syrian civilians in the camp are not with the Islamic State, and the “SDF and al-Hol administration know that well.”

Chloe Troadec, a Syria-based researcher at the Rojava Information Center (RIC), told Kurdistan 24 that most of the women who have been released from al-Hol camp were victims of pressure and harassment by women affiliated with the terrorist group.

“They themselves haven’t committed any crime, they just ended up there because their brother or husbands joined ISIS.

They themselves spent years confined to the home under the ISIS caliphate.”

“Tribal sheikhs became guarantors for these women because they recognise these women have been victims of the ISIS ideology twice: once in the caliphate and once more in the camp.”

The decision to release more civilians from the camp was coordinated through meetings between tribal leaders and the Civilian Councils of Raqqa and Deir al-Zor and the external relations of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Troadec stated the move helps to defuse tensions and build trust in tribal areas of Raqqa and Deir al-Zor.

“This gives these women a second chance to rebuild their lives, the move serves to alleviate pressure on al-Hol camp and contribute to humanitarian and deradicalization efforts there.”

The al-Hol camp was built to house 40,000 individuals but currently holds over 68,000 people—94 percent are women and children.

The camp witnessed a sharp increase in numbers of residents as the US-backed SDF launched an offensive to defeat the Islamic State in its last bastion of Baghouz, which ended in March 2019.

According to a report of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs there was another slight increase of residents in the camp after Turkey launched an assault on northern Syria on October 9.

As of November 19, 45 percent of camp residents are Iraqis (30,897), 40 percent are Syrians (27,813) and 15 percent third country nationals (TCNs) (10,029), the UN agency said.

An additional 220 people arrived in the past month, including 41 households relocated from Mahmoudli on October 24 and six households previously hosted in Ain Issa camp transferred from Raqqa city on October 27.

Since the beginning of June, almost 2,990 residents have departed the camp, including more than 1,440 Syrians and 1,450 foreign women and children.

Other foreign countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Albania, and Denmark have repatriated a number of orphans in the months of October and November.

A small number of foreign women have been also been able or attempted to escape from al-Hol with the help of smugglers.

The last time was on November 19, when six Islamic State women escaped from al-Hol, the RIC said in a recent report.

Editing by Nadia Riva



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