800 Syrians start leaving crowded Al-Hol camp

4 June, 2019 12:00 AM printer

AL-HOL CAMP: Some 800 Syrian women and children on Monday started leaving a Kurdish-run camp in northeast Syria crammed with tens of thousands including relatives of jihadists, heading to their hometowns.

At least 17 buses were seen leaving the area in the first such transfer from Al-Hol camp which is home to nearly 74,000 people, among them wives and children of suspected Islamic State group fighters.

Some children were seen with identification tags hanging around their necks, while others had their name and a phone number scribbled on their hands, an AFP correspondent said.

“800 civilians have started leaving the Al-Hol camp aboard buses taking them to their hometowns in Raqa and Tabqa,” a town 70 kilometres (43 miles) west of Raqa city, said an official with the Kurdish administration in northeast Syria.

“In the coming days, there will be other batches of civilians who will (also) be taken to liberated and safe areas,” Sheikhmous Ahmed told AFP, referring to towns and villages recaptured from IS.

Monday’s transfer follows an agreement brokered by the Kurdish administration and Arab tribal leaders during a meeting in the town of Ain Issa last month.

It is to be the first in a larger wave of releases that aim to empty Al-Hol of its Syrian residents, including relatives of alleged IS fighters.