Thousands of former ISIS militants and their families are stranded in al-Hol camp under the control of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.
Thousands of men, women and children who were either members of ISIS or lived under the rule of the group are still stranded in al-Hol camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in the north-east of Syria, in Hasakah Province. Many of these individuals belong to tribes in the region.
The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria is currently in de facto control of these territories and is governing the region, despite the lack of international recognition. The Administration has mediated with the local tribes in order to determine which individuals should be released and handed over to the tribes. So far, around 200 women and children have been transported from al-Hol camp to other areas of north-eastern Syria.
“We have brought out 201 women and children from the families of ISIS militants and delivered them to their families today. We will continue and not leave any Syrian woman in the camps”, said Honad al-Shalal, the co-chair of Al-Sour Council.
This process is part of an agreement reached between the Autonomous Administration and the local tribes in June that has paved the way for hundreds of family members of ISIS militants to undergo rehabilitation and societal reintegration.
The Autonomous Administration has been inclined more towards the rehabilitation of people who lived under ISIS rule rather than punishment and marginalisation from society. Nevertheless, the Administration is not shying away from the transitional justice as it considers that those ISIS members who committed crimes should be punished. An international forum to discuss this issue was organised last week in the town of Amouda.
There are several foreign families linked to ISIS who are still in Syria. Some have indeed been taken back by their countries of origin, although most of them are still settled in north-eastern Syria with many countries refusing to take back the ISIS-linked individuals. There is yet to be an international consensus on how to deal with these individuals, with calls for either Iraq to put them on trial or the Autonomous Administration. Nevertheless, international powers are yet to demonstrate a practical political will to fund the implementation of the trials.