Up to tens of thousands of Syrians are to be released from the al-Hol refugee camp in northern Syria.
– Syrian nationals leave the camp and only foreigners remain, second chairman of the SDC, the political wing of the SDF fighting force in northern and eastern Syria Riyad Derar told news agency AFP on Monday.
Of Al-Hol’s estimated population of 64,377, 24,300 are Syrians, about 30,000 Iraqis and tens of thousands of other foreigners, the UN estimates. According to UNICEF, there are about 40,000 children out of all those in the camp.
Virtually everyone in the camp is somehow connected to the terrorist organization Isis. Isis fighters creeping in prisons are not going to be released.
According to Derar, Iraqis are allowed to leave your volunteer camp, but many want to stay because they fear being prosecuted or imprisoned in Iraq for Isis connections.
Senior Analyst at International Crisis Group Dareen Khalifa tells Arab News that security in the region will be shaken if Syrians in al-Hol receive widespread “amnesty”.
– Their release requires a responsibility that the SDF is simply not capable of and should not even be able to do on its own. The SDF’s ability to hold prisoners or reintegrate thousands of prisoners has deteriorated, Khalifa commented.
For the Kurds, the al-Hol camp is a huge burden, according to Riyad Derar. They would like to bring foreigners to their home countries, but a large number of countries do not want to receive people in the camp because they are seen as a security threat. Indeed, the camp has thousands of people loyal to Isis, especially among foreigners.
Kurdish leaders have said they cannot keep fighters and their families imprisoned indefinitely.
According to aid organizations, the situation in the camp has long been grim. For example, access to clean drinking water is unreliable and health care is deficient, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said in a recent report.
“A water shortage would cause a catastrophe along with a coronavirus,” MSF said.