Many of the women and children currently living in the overpopulated al-Hol Camp in Syria are foreign citizens who left their country to join ISIS. With their countries refusing to take them back, the residents do not know what their fate will be.
The defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq has been marked with celebrations by citizens in both countries who can finally begin to rebuild their lives that were destroyed by the militant group. However, with no land to control, and no area to escape to, many ISIS militants turned themselves and their families in to the advancing forces.
In Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) took in at least 9,000 people with direct affiliations to ISIS, including militant wives and children. The women and children were separated from civilians who evacuated ISIS territory and placed in a designated area separated by metal fence within al-Hol displacement camp.
Furthermore, the SDF also separated ISIS family members of Syrian and Iraqi origin from those who are foreign due to the discrimination and arguments that have arisen between the two groups.
“Those who have been here for only one year have not welcomed the newcomers,” said Romina Sher, a European woman who fled Europe to join the militant group. “We are the last to come out of Baghouz; they have problems. Some of the tents were burned, and some of the sisters were beaten.”
With their countries of origin refusing to let them back in, these women and children do not know what their fate will be.
According to a UN report, al-Hol Camp is extremely overcrowded and can not handle the large number of residents living there. As a result, when aid or tent is distributed to the residents many of them will fight other residents, resulting in more quarrels and conflicts from within.
While the international community has not yet given any solution for resolving of this issue, the SDF recently called upon the US and other countries to establish an international Hague-like tribunal to prosecute and try those who have participated in carrying out acts of violence against civilians. However, this idea was quickly rejected by the US who said they would continue to call on countries to take back their citizens to be tried at home.
As a result, the situation in the camp remains extremely unstable with the Kurdish authorities saying that their presence poses a threat to the region.