“Al-Hawl mini-state” in April 2021 | Security chaos subsides considerably following the security campaign, while ISIS affiliates still prosecuted
The successive incidents at al-Hawl camp in the far south-east region of Al-Hasakah are now a unrefuted evidence of the chaos recently unleashed by the Islamic State in Syria. Al-Hawl refugee camp has become more like a “mini-state” hosting ISIS-affiliated members and families. A true crisis that most countries of the world still ignore in order to avoid repatriating their unwanted citizens who joined the notorious organization. Chaos and lack of security are prevalent within the camp, turning it into a “ticking bomb” that cannot be ignored.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) tracked and monitored the key developments in the camp in April 2021.
SOHR activists document only one murder in Al-Hawl camp in April, as ISIS cells assassinated, on April 17, an Iraqi refugee in the first section of al-Hawl camp in al-Hasakah countryside using a silencer pistol, while two women were injured during the attack.
Accordingly, the number of murders documented by SOHR in al-Hawl camp since the beginning of 2021 has risen to 41, 13 murders in January, ten in February, 17 in March, and one in April. These murders have left 42 people dead, and the breakdown of fatalities in the past three months was as follows:
- 31 Iraqi refugees, including two children and five women.
- 11 Syrian people, including a child and three woman, the head of the “Syrian Council” in the camp, and a member of the Internal Security Forces (Asayish).
A gunman of a cell responsible for assassinations and murders in the camp, who was killed when he blew himself up with a grenade just after he had been caught by an Asayish patrol which was pursuing him.
On April 18, SOHR sources said that an official Russian delegation from the Commission on the Rights of the Child of the President of the Russian Federation arrived at the headquarters of the Department of Foreign Relations in the Autonomous Administration of northern and eastern Syria in the city of al-Qamishli in order to receive 34 orphaned Russian children from al-Hawl camp, whose parents had been killed in previous battles while fighting with ISIS, or in previous shelling on ISIS-held areas during the group’s control of the area.
While on April 30, SOHR sources said that the Department of Foreign Relations in the Autonomous Administration of northern and eastern Syria, has handed over 92 Uzbeks, 24 women and 68 children, of the families of ISIS members held in al-Hawl camp to representatives of the Uzbek government, under an official return document signed by representatives of the Uzbek side at the headquarters of the Department of Foreign Relations in al-Qamishli city.
Moreover, the Autonomous Administration in north and east Syria regions coordinated with the Iraqi government to evacuate 500 Iraqi families from al-Hawl camps in al-Hasakah countryside. These families were expected to leave the camp in batches, where they would be handed over to the Iraqi government soon.
As a part of the large-scale campaign in al-Hawl camp which lasted from late March to the beginning of April, the Internal Security Forces (Asayish) arrested, on April 3, four members of ISIS cells in al-Hawl camp in al-Hasakah countryside, after other members of ISIS cells, arrested earlier, had informed about their whereabouts. This development came after the first phase of the large-scale security campaign launched by joint forces, including Assayish Forces, in Al-Hawl camp, targeting members and cells dealing with ISIS.
On April 5 and April 6, the Counter-Terrorism units arrested a commander of ISIS cells in Al-Hawl camp. The commander is called “Abu Khaled” and hails from Anbar province in Iraq. Meanwhile, the Internal Security Forces (Asayish) arrested six “collaborators” and members of ISIS cells, including two women work for “al-Hisba” security branch, also in al-Hawl camp. It is worth noting that these six ISIS affiliates were arrested after Asayish Forces had obtained information from other people arrested earlier the recent security campaign in al-Hawl camp about the whereabouts of them.
While on April 17, forces in charge of the security campaign in al-Hawl camp in the far south-eastern region of al-Hasakah arrested seven people, mostly of Iraqi nationality, over the murder of an Iraqi refugee, which took place in the camp three days earlier.
The Syrian Observatory renews its appeal to the international community for a solution to “Al Hawl mini-state” crisis, which is considered a clear and present danger to everyone. We, at the Syrian Observatory, once more renew our call to the UN Security Council, all organizations concerned and countries that claim to respect and champion human rights globally to act immediately to stop the crimes and violations committed against the Syrian people by the Islamic State and many other active actors on the ground, and to establish appropriate courts for prosecuting the perpetrators. We call on all those countries that have citizens in Al-Hawl camp to find a solution for those individuals and face up to their responsibility.