Insight Iraq

In-Depth News & Views

Syria’s Al-Hol camp: child inmates and false identities

Paris – The al-Hol camp is the premier of two in northeastern Syria keeping the family members of Islamic Condition fighters.

Run by US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), its inhabitants spiked at extra than 70,000 as the coalition began tightening its grip on the very last IS holdout in Baghouz late in 2018.

Iraqis have normally been “the dominant nationality” in the camp, with their figures at just one time reaching 30,000, according to Medical practitioners With out Borders.

At its top, 11,000 “foreign” women and young children — that is non-Syrian or Iraqi — have been held there.

Soon after the defeat of the “caliphate” in March 2019, international locations throughout the earth slowly but surely started repatriating their nationals. Many Europeans were transferred to Roj, a more compact and greater-held camp shut to the Turkish border that these days retains 2,500 people, much more than 2,140 of them overseas.

The sprawling 320-hectare al-Hol holds additional than 43,000 persons from 47 international locations which includes France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Russia, Turkey and Tunisia —  21,500 of them kids, according to the newest figures. 

Iraqis are the biggest team (20,144), followed by Syrians (16,710). Two thirds of the 6,612 “foreigners” are youngsters below 17, in accordance to the camp administration.

– 13-calendar year-aged brides –

Kurdish stability forces and the SDF guard the camp, with a Kurdish civil administration overseeing the camp. Dozens of United Nations businesses and worldwide and nearby NGOs present health, h2o, sanitation, instruction and security solutions. 

But the camp’s total administration is managed by the US team Blumont paid for by the US Point out Division, with France also funding some humanitarian support and advancements to the infrastructure. 

The camp is divided into two parts. Syrians and Iraqis dwell in the main camp, with “foreigners” held in the substantial-stability “annex” that is minimize off from the most important camp.

Camp officials say numerous of the foreigners have not disclosed their nationalities or given wrong ones.

Numerous marriages in the main camp — where by some 3,000 guys dwell — are to minors, like girls as young as 13, according to humanitarian staff.

Considering the fact that the Kurdish-led administration does not recognise kid relationship, they are not registered, nor are their kids.

A lot of gentlemen just take 2nd wives. These marriages are also not recognised. As a consequence, the camp “bursts with unregistered children”, a humanitarian worker explained.