An agreement between the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria and local tribes has paved the way for hundreds of family members of ISIS fighters to undergo rehabilitation and societal reintegration.
In the past week, over 800 women and children have left al-Hol refugee camp in the countryside of Hasakah, heading towards their homes in Raqqa and Tabqa. According to the administration of the camp, this is the most significant instance of departure from the camp and was a result of negotiations between the Autonomous Kurdish Administration in northern Syria and local tribes, who vetted the returnees.
The camp, which was established to provide a haven for civilians escaping ISIS-controlled areas, currently houses around 73,000 people, some of whom are ISIS militants and their women and children. According to the UN, the camp can only handle 10,000 people. As a result, the resources being sent to the camp are insufficient and have caused many to suffer immensely to survive.
This has encouraged the camp’s administration to place extra efforts on investigating the residents of the camp for possible affiliations with ISIS and facilitate the return of innocent civilians back to their homes.
“A reason for their [women and children] presence in the camps was to distance them from the areas of conflict, therefore following the rehabilitation of their areas, they have been returned to the areas of Raqqa and Tabqa,” said Sheikhmous Ahmed, Director of the IDP Committee in the Kurdish Autonomous Administration in northern Syria. “Then, they will be integrated into their societies.”
The return and reintegration of civilians back to in their home towns and cities is an essential step to the return of normalcy to the region. The administration of the camp stated that any person seeking to leave the camp will undergo an investigation and will be rehabilitated to remove any extremist ideologies that they hold.
“There will be studies on the majority of civilians present in the camp, from a humanitarian standpoint with a consideration for their condition to reintegrate them back into society, where they will be rehabilitated with others,” said Abdulaziz Younis, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Director of Public Relations in the Euphrates Region.
With the absence of international involvement in the case of displaced civilians in al-Hol due to the existence of ISIS militants and their families within the camp, the authorities are attempting to mitigate the suffering of thousands of innocent civilians by returning them to their homes throughout the Kurdish-held areas of Syria.