Hundreds of Iraqis leave Al-Hol camp

An official revealed that more than 100 Iraqi families have been released from the al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria, including the families of ISIS fighters.

The official in the camp confirmed to the “Voice of America” ​​website that 487 Iraqi citizens from 115 families left on Wednesday evening, heading to a camp in Nineveh Governorate, Iraq.

This is the second time this year that Iraqis have left the camp. In May, 381 Iraqis from 95 families left and were returned to Iraq.

When the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured the last ISIS stronghold in Syria in March 2019, they arrested thousands of ISIS fighters and their families.

According to Kurdish officials, there are more than 62,000 people in the camp, including nearly 30,000 Iraqis, and about 22,000 Syrians.

Wednesday’s transfer was part of a 2018 agreement between Kurdish officials in Syria and the Iraqi government, according to a local journalist who follows events in the camp.

“The two sides agreed to allow up to 5,000 Iraqi families to leave the camp if they wanted to,” the journalist told Voice of America.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a US radio request for comment on this issue.

“The release of Iraqi families from al-Hol requires many conversations, as well as a thorough examination,” said Nicholas Heras, a senior analyst at the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy in Washington.

The SDF released 324 Syrian citizens from Al-Hol camp in August, bringing the number of Syrian families who left the camp to 1,600.

The local authorities hope that reducing the camp’s population will help reduce violence within the camp. The United Nations says at least 70 people have been killed in al-Hol this year. Reports confirm that the majority of the victims were Iraqis.

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