Syrian Kurdish forces stop 56 people escaping notorious al-Hol camp
Kurdish-led forces in northeastern Syria have thwarted an escape attempt by 56 people from the notorious Al-Hol refugee camp.
The camp currently houses around 56,000 people, including families of former IS militants as well as displaced people from Iraq and Syria, and is infamous for its poor conditions and violence.
The Asayish Internal Security Forces, who operate under the authority of the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria (AANES), said in a statement that they had seized a truck carrying 39 children and 17 women from IS families.
They also arrested a smuggler involved in the escape attempt.
Conditions at the camp, which is under the control of AANES and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been described as “appalling”, with children suffering from hunger, and disease, while violence and murder are commonplace.
According to UNICEF, 99 children died at the camp in 2020 and 2021, while 28 people were murdered there in 2022 according to the camp’s management.
The United Nations has called Al-Hol a “ticking bomb”, and Joseph Votel, a retired commander of the US Central Command recently described it as a threat to US security, with “violent rhetoric and indoctrination” being promoted there by IS remnants.
The Syrian Kurdish authorities have called on Western countries with nationals at the camp to repatriate them, but only 25 out of 60 countries have responded.