The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) has redoubled its efforts to permanently close the al-Hol camp and return "women and children who are associated with the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)" to their countries, including Iraq.
There are 30,000 Iraqi women and children in the al-Hol camp.
The al-Hol camp, located east of Hasaka, is one of the largest camps in Syria. 72,000 relatives of ISIS militants, including foreign women and children used to live in the camp.
The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) has redoubled its efforts to cooperate with the United Nations and other international organizations in order to completely close the camp and return the women and children to their countries.
The population of the camp has been reduced to 65,000.
Haval Shékhmus Ahmad, head of the Office of Immigration and Displacement Affairs of the AANES told KirkukNow “The number of people living in the camp is declining on a daily basis. The number was initially 72,000 people, but now it is reduced to 65,000. Those who hold Syrian nationality will be returned to their home areas.”
"Our meetings and discussions with the United Nations to completely evacuate the camp continues, because it has become a burden on the shoulders of the Democratic Autonomous Administration. And aid for the camp has been decreased."
The preliminary steps to evacuate the camp have been taken, and returning those with Syrian nationality to their home regions has begun.
"We will do everything we can to persuade the government of Iraq and others to take back women and children associated with ISIS militants as soon as possible, so that the camp can be closed," Ahmad said.
The Iraqi government has resumed work on constructing Umla camp located in Zumar subdistrict, northwest of Nineveh province, months after it was suspended due to pressure from residents of the Zumar subdistrict who object to settling “ISIS families and relatives” in their region.
More than 3,000 tents have been set up inside the camp.
Iraqi officials say that work on the camo has not been finished yet. Whenever it is finished, we will start returning the women and children of ISIS militants to Iraq without hesitation
Ahmad added: “Iraqi officials say that work on the camo has not been finished yet. Whenever it is finished, we will start returning the women and children of ISIS militants to Iraq without hesitation.”
There are currently more than 30,000 Iraqis in al-Hol camp, along with 25,000 Syrians and 10,000 of foreign nationalities, according to Ahmad.
Ahmad also confirmed to Kirkuk Now that "more than 5,000 Syrians who were in the camp were returned to their home regions.”
On 2 October 2020, the Kurdish branch of Radio Sweden announced that four women belonging to ISIS and nine children had been smuggled from the Syrian camps to Turkey and from there to Sweden. The radio says two of those women used to be in al-Hol camp.
Mahmoud Rasho, a member of the Committee for Abductees in the Ezidi House (a shelter set up by AANES for Ezidi women who survived ISIS captivity) told KirkukNow: “For the women and girls who have European nationalities or from countries bordering Syria, including Iraq, no decision has been taken yet because these countries have not yet shown their willingness to take them back.”
Mahmoud stressed: "We have informed the administrators at al-Hol camp before women and children are taken out of the camp, their nationalities must be ascertained by us to find out if they are Ezidis or not. Because there are a large number of Ezidi women and girls who are still missing and we suspect that they may be inside the camp, but unwilling to reveal themselves.”