Syria: Tens Of Thousands Of Women And Children Still Left Behind In Al-Hol Camp


Al-Hol camp in Syria is home to thousands of ISIS brides and orphaned children. This is presenting a challenge to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), especially with the increasing hardships faced within the camp.

Located in the countryside of the Hasakah Province in northeast Syria, al-Hol Camp currently houses tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian civilians, in addition to thousands of women and children affiliated with ISIS militants.

Since there has not been any international action taken to determine the fate of these groups, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that control the area, are presented with the challenge of dealing with the displaced people.

According to UN estimates, the camp is overcrowded, housing around 74,000 thousand people although it was meant for 10,000. As a result, residents of al-Hol are facing extreme hardships in obtaining their living needs. This has led to the departure of over 800 civilians from the camp, heading towards their villages and homes in Raqqa and Tabqa. The administration of the camp says this is the first instance, in which a large number of civilians leave the camp.

The overpopulated camp, which is split into sectors, also has over 12,000 surrendered ISIS militants living with their families in a special section. The administration says that this section is under constant supervision, to prevent militants from escaping the camp and hiding within civilians.

With large numbers of militants housed in al-Hol, the SDF has called on the international community to set up a tribunal where these militants can be prosecuted for the war crimes. While many countries initially rejected this idea, 11 European countries recently proposed that this tribunal be set up to serve justice to the victims of the militant group. Furthermore, they suggested that international action take place to repatriate the women and children of ISIS militants so that they rehabilitated and made working members of their society.

Until this is set up, the 4,000 women and 8,000 children currently in al-Hol will continue to reside there despite increasing tensions.

Given that this not only affects the region but also countries across the world, international action must be made to resolve this crisis, that has become the forefront of the post-ISIS nation rebuilding effort.