JEDDAH: Fears are growing of a resurgence of Daesh after a spate of killings at a camp in northeast Syria that houses extremist fighters’ families.
At least eight people were shot dead last month in the sprawling tent city of Al-Hol in Hasakeh province. They included a 16-year-old Iraqi refugee and two Syrian sisters aged 17 and 23.
Daesh cells inside Al-Hol were carrying out “killings of residents who distance themselves from the extremist ideas of the group,” the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said.
The SDF said in April there had been 47 killings in Al-Hol in the first three months of the year, and they had captured 125 Daesh members in a security sweep in the camp.
The UN has warned of radicalization inside the camp, which houses about 50,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees, mostly women and children, and has a separate annex holding about 10,000 other women and children linked to Daesh members.
Syria’s Kurds hold thousands of Daesh fighters in jails, and their relatives in camps, after expelling the militants in 2019 from the last patch of the territory they controlled.
The Kurdish authorities have repeatedly urged the international community to repatriate their nationals, but most countries have so far taken back only some of the children.
Beyond the camps, the International Committee of the Red Cross has sounded the alarm over the Kurdish authorities holding “hundreds of children” in adult prisons. The Kurds responded by urging international help to set up more rehabilitation centers for minors linked to the extremists.