Iraq News

800 Syrians start leaving crowded al-Hol camp

Some 800 Syrian women and children started leaving the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp in north-east Syria’s al-Hasakeh province on Monday (June 3rd), en route to their hometowns in the nearby province of al-Raqa, AFP reported.

At least 17 buses were seen leaving the area in the first such transfer from the overcrowded camp, which is home to nearly 74,000 people.

Kurdish authorities in north-east Syria said Sunday they planned to hand 800 Syrian women and children, including relatives of "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) fighters, to their families.

They will be "taken to their families" at the request of local Arab tribes, according to Abd al-Mehbach, co-chair of the Kurdish administration's executive council.

The move follows an agreement brokered by the Kurdish administration and Arab tribal leaders during a meeting in the town of Ain Issa last month.

It is to be the first in a larger wave of releases that aim to empty al-Hol of its Syrian residents, he said, with the next batch expected to follow after Eid al-Fitr.

Thousands of wives and children of ISIS fighters have been trucked into al-Hol from a string of Syrian villages south of the camp in recent months.

Their numbers have created a major headache for the semi-autonomous Kurdish administration and have sparked concerns that the camp is emerging as a fresh extremist powder keg.

Monday's group consists of residents of al-Raqa city and the nearby town of Tabqa, Mehbach said.

Those among them with suspected links to ISIS will be kept under surveillance by local Arab tribes, who have given guarantees, he said.

Separately, the Kurdish administration in north-east Syria on Monday handed over five orphans from ISIS families to Norwegian authorities, spokesman Kamal Akef said in a statement.

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