Aid & Development

IDPs In Al-Hol Camp Are Facing A Humanitarian Disaster

Syria

Some internally displaced people in Al Hol camp are not receiving the aid that they need and are keen to leave the camp.

Residents of al-Hol IDP camp in the city of Hasakah in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zour Province say that they are struggling to survive in the camp due to the lack of aid and the absence of services. Earlier this month the UN announced that the camp is overburdened with residents due to the number of people who have fled from the clashes with ISIS in the city of Baghouz. According to some estimates, the camp now houses over 73,000 people although it was initially established to accommodate only 10,000 people.

“The situation is horrible; there are no good services. I’m from this country, and all citizens should be equal”, said Ahmed al-Ahmed, a resident of the camp. “Why am I being held? And why can’t I get out with my family?”

When the operations to liberate the city of Baghouz, ISIS’ last enclave, were launched in January, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) issued a three-week evacuation period, which resulted in thousands of civilians leaving the city before the clashes. However, the SDF soon discovered that many women and children fleeing the city were families of ISIS militants. As a result, the women and children were placed in special sections in the al-Hol camp, until investigation is complete. Furthermore, ISIS militants that have surrendered or have been captured by the SDF are held in special camps away from their families.

“My husband is imprisoned. I do not want food or bread from them. All I want is to have my husband returned to me,” said Hiyam, a wife of an alleged ISIS militant and a displaced woman from Deir ez-Zour. “My husband was not a fighter, and I want to get out of the camp so return him to me.”

Due to uncertainty regarding their fate, many of the women and children remain in the camp, where disputes have begun to arise internally between families of local fighters and families of foreign fighters.

With no solutions proposed so far by the international community with regards to the fate of ISIS fighters and their families, the camp continues to witness tensions between civilians and families of ISIS militants, who are fighting to survive the absence of food, water and medicine.