An armed guard watches over the al-Hol camp in northeast Syria (Delil Souleiman/AFP)
Kurdish officials say more than 70 people have been killed since January in the al-Hol detention camp in northeast Syria.
The camp has more than 62,000 people, many of them family members of Islamic State fighters. Overseen by the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces, it has been condemned for unsafe, unsanitary, and overcrowded conditions. However, few countries are willing to repatriate their nationals.
In April, the SDF claimed the arrest of 125 people, including six senior ISIS figures. Women have been tried in courts inside the camp’s tents. But the killings have not abated.
In one of a series of interviews by The Washington Post, an Iraqi woman says,
“What are we meant to do?. You can’t just leave us here and hope that we die.”
But residents in nearby Raqqa have no sympathy. Mustafa Hamed, whose home was damaged in a US-led coalition airstrike during the fight against ISIS, asked, “What do they expect?”
Near Raqqa’s hospital, Hassan Mustafa was dismissive: “They killed people and now we’re back here giving all we have to rebuild. You think we have time to think about them?”
An effort by the Iraqi Government at repatriation only brought back fewer than 400 people this summer.
Saken Obeid, from Anbar Province in western Iraq, buried his aunt in the camp last month. He says of his family’s situation, “We can’t stay here. There must be a solution.”