Nearly 200 Families Repatriated from Syria’s Al-Hol Camp to Iraq
Nearly 200 families have been repatriated to Iraq from Syria’s Al-Hol camp, according to an Iraqi official. The camp, located in Kurdish-controlled northeast Syria, is home to about 50,000 people, including family members of suspected extremists. The repatriation effort aimed to bring back Iraqi families who had been living in the squalid and overcrowded camp.
The senior Iraqi security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that a total of 192 families, comprising 776 individuals, had returned to Iraq in the latest repatriation effort. Buses carrying these Iraqi families left Al-Hol, which is operated by the semi-autonomous Syrian Kurdish authorities. Upon arrival in Iraq, the returnees are usually kept at a “psychological rehabilitation” facility in Al-Jadaa, south of Mosul, where they undergo security checks.
Previous Repatriation Efforts
Earlier in November, Iraq’s official news agency INA reported that more than 1,500 Iraqi families had been transferred to Al-Jadaa. Out of this number, approximately 900 families had already been released and allowed to return home. The repatriation process has faced resistance from local populations who are reluctant to accept the return of families associated with the extremist group Daesh (also known as ISIS). However, despite the challenges, Baghdad has consistently repatriated its citizens from Al-Hol.
Controversy and Concerns
The repatriation of family members of suspected Daesh members has stirred controversy in Iraq. The extremist group had previously seized large areas of land in Iraq before being defeated in late 2017. Local populations are concerned about the potential security risks associated with the return of these families. However, the repatriation process has received commendation from both the United Nations and the United States.
Despite the territorial defeat of Daesh, the group’s militants continue to pose a threat in both Iraq and Syria. They regularly conduct attacks against civilians and security forces in the region. Therefore, it is crucial for the Iraqi authorities to carefully screen and rehabilitate the repatriated families to ensure that they do not pose a risk to national security.
The United Nations and the United States have expressed support for Iraq’s repatriation efforts. Recognizing the importance of rehabilitating and reintegrating individuals associated with extremist groups, they have commended Baghdad’s commitment to bringing its citizens back home. However, it is essential for the Iraqi government to address the concerns of local populations and implement effective security measures to prevent any potential threats.
The repatriation of nearly 200 families from Syria’s Al-Hol camp to Iraq marks another step in the ongoing effort to bring back Iraqi citizens who were displaced due to the conflict with Daesh. While there are concerns about the potential security risks associated with these repatriations, it is crucial to provide support and rehabilitation to these families to prevent any future radicalization. By carefully screening and reintegrating them into society, Iraq can ensure a safer and more stable future for its citizens.