SOHR: US calls on countries to repatriate citizens held in al-Hol
General Michael Kurila, head of the US military’s Central Command in the Middle East (CENTCOM), called on countries to repatriate their citizens who are among the tens of thousands held in Syria’s al-Hol camp.
This camp, located in northeastern Syria, is under the command of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). It holds tens of thousands of people, relatives of jihadists who were captured or fled to escape the 2019 assault on the Islamic State’s last stronghold.
“There are currently almost 54,000 people living in the camp, including 27,000 Iraqis — almost half the population — and about 18,000 Syrians as well as 8,500 foreigners,” Kurila said. Half the camp’s population is under 18, according to the UN.
Despite warnings from international organizations that the situation in the overcrowded camp is “disastrous”, most countries refuse to repatriate their citizens from al-Hol.
“50% of the population of the camp are IS heirs who follow the organization’s filthy ideology. The rest are people who have nowhere else to go and wish to return to their countries”, said the American general during a press conference from the US embassy in Amman, Jordan.
“I encourage all countries that have citizens who are detained in the camp to repatriate them and reintegrate them (into society),” he added, after visiting al-Hol, which is less than 10 kilometers from the Iraqi border.
“We must consider this issue with empathy because there is no military solution to the issue”, he underlined.
Besides, General Kourila stated that “at this time, the repatriation of Iraqi prisoners and IS fighters is underway. We are working with the Iraqi authorities to speed up the process.”
The semi-autonomous Kurdish government in northeastern Syria recently deported nearly 700 Iraqis linked to IS, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Also in August, an operation was launched to track down jihadists hiding in the camp, following a resurgence of attacks. Dozens of fighters have been captured and central IS networks dismantled, the US-led coalition against the jihadists said in a statement on Wednesday.
Source: News Wep