There are claims that the Iraqi government is planning to transfer ISIS families from al-Hol camp in Syria to Nineveh province in Iraq.
Political figures and activists in the province of Nineveh in northern Iraq have come out in opposition to a supposed plan to move ISIS-affiliated families from al-Hol camp in Syria to a camp being prepared in the Rabi’a district of Nineveh province. The new camp is said to be undergoing construction near the Amlaa camp.
Local residents in the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, are expressing their worries regarding the plan:
“There are fears, if the families of the militants of the group return to live among us, then we will lose security and safety. Gradually they will form sleeping cells and we will see the past repeating itself. Haven’t we learned from our previous experience? What is wrong remains wrong, no matter what the reasons were”, stated Obeyda Talal, a resident of Mosul.
Some also fear that locals in the region will be motivated to commit reprisal acts against ISIS-affiliated individuals as they may have personal scores to settle with the terrorist group.
“There are fears among the people of Mosul if the families of ISIS militants return. We fear that acts of revenge may occur or that a new haven for the group would be formed in Mosul. I believe that moving families is not in the interest of Mosul”, expressed Omar Talal, a resident of Mosul.
The governor of the Sinjar district, Mahma Khalil Ali Agha, also expressed his deep concerns regarding the plan. Sinjar district, which is home to a predominantly Yazidi population, was the site of widespread massacres by ISIS terrorists against the Yazidi residents, amounting to what some countries and organisations across the world consider a genocide. Mahma Khalil Ali Agha stated that the implementation of this transfer plan risks an outbreak of ethnic-based violence in the region and that the local population wholly rejects the plan.
Nineveh province represented a prominent stronghold of ISIS rule, especially Mosul city, which was considered the terrorist group’s de facto “capital”. The return of ISIS-affiliated individuals to the region is thus a highly sensitive issue among the local population, which suffered atrocities and tyrannical rule under the hands of ISIS.