Populated by relatives of Daesh fighters, the Al-Hol displaced persons camp in Syria experienced a wave of assassinations in December. They were perpetrated by jihadists who act under cover and hide among the 62,000 people there.
The victims are four women (one Iraqi, two Syrians and one whose identity is not known) and two men (of Iraqi nationality). These assassinations were committed by Daesh “cells”, which continue to operate within the camp, reports the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH). The last victim, killed this weekend, was shot dead.
Whether it is retaliation or settling of scores, the number of assassinations is on the rise in the camp in 2021. No less than 86 people, including 63 Iraqi refugees, have been killed in Al-Hol, according to an NGO report.
Chaos and insecurity in the camp
Al-Hol camp, located in northeastern Syria, hosts nearly 62,000 displaced people, 93% of whom are women and children. Half of the people come from Iraq. The site is controlled by the Kurdish semi-autonomous administration. OSDH director Rami Abdel Rahman warned against “the time bomb that the camp has become”. He told AFP that “chaos and insecurity continue”.
In March, the Kurdish authorities had to launch a major operation which led to the arrest of 125 Daesh members in the camp. The UN has repeatedly warned of a deteriorating security situation in Al-Hol, rocked by escape attempts and attacks on guards and NGO workers, as well as residents.
The overcrowded camp also hosts around 10,000 foreign women, their children and relatives of jihadist fighters. Most Western countries refuse to repatriate their citizens there. Returns are trickle down, for fear of future terrorist acts on their soil.