Kurdish-led authorities in northeast Syria have announced plan to Syrians out of the overcrowded al-Hol camp, which holds displaced people and families of suspected ISIL (ISIS) fighters.
While making the announcement on Monday October 5, 2020, the authorities stated that Kurdish fighters have seized much of northern and eastern Syria from ISIL with the backing of the United States.
“They have since held thousands of suspected fighters in prisons, while their wives and children – numbering tens of thousands, many of them foreigners – are living in camps,” the said.
According to United Nations estimates, Al-Hol camp alone holds some 65,000 people, including about 28,000 Syrians, 30,000 Iraqis and some 10,000 other foreigners of many nationalities.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that most among them are nearly 40,000 children from more than 60 countries,
“Syrian nationals will leave the al-Hol camp and only foreigners will remain,” said Riyad Derar, the co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political wing of the region’s main military force.
“In al-Hol, there are Syrian relatives of ISIS group fighters and they too will be released” with guarantees from their families, Derar stated.
The SDC’s Ilham Ahmed also said “a decision will be issued to empty the Syrians from the camp completely.”
He added that “those who want to remain in the camp, this would not be the responsibility of the administration.”
Syrian ISIL fighters who are currently being held by Kurdish authorities in prisons in northeast Syria will not be included in the blanket release, according to the SDC.
Kurdish leaders have repeatedly warned that the suspected ISIL fighters and their families pose a security threat and that they cannot detain the foreigners indefinitely, but foreign governments have hesitated to repatriate their citizens.