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Syria Kurds wrap up sweep of Daesh relatives camp

By AFP - Sep 17,2022 - Last updated at Sep 17,2022

BEIRUT — Kurdish forces in northeast Syria on Saturday announced the end of a three-week operation against Daesh group supporters inside the overcrowded and increasingly lawless camp of Al Hol.

They arrested more than 200 people, including dozens of women, discovered tunnels used by terrorists and seized an arsenal of weapons.

The internal security forces of the area’s semi-autonomous Kurdish administration carried out the massive sweep of the camp, which houses tens of thousands of relatives of suspected Daesh members.

The number of murders inside the camp had risen recently, as had fears that Al Hol was becoming the hub from which the militants organisation was planning its resurgence.

“The operation was launched following the increasing crimes of killing and torture committed by ISIS,” a Kurdish statement said, using another acronym for Daesh.

The UN says more than 100 people have been murdered since the start of 2021 in Al Hol, which lies in a remote area near the border with Iraq and is home to Syrian and Iraqi families, as well as around 10,000 of others, mostly women and children, originating from further afield.

The Kurdish security forces said Daesh had relied heavily on women and children in Al Hol, most of whom had been there for more than three years, to spread the group’s extremist ideology.

The last rump of the organisation’s once-sprawling “caliphate” was retaken in March 2019, causing an exodus among the proto-state’s last denizens.

The families of suspected Daesh fighters were herded into Al Hol, a de facto detention camp which Kurdish forces are tasked with guarding and running.

Many countries, such as France which was among the biggest purveyors of foreign fighters to Daesh, have been reluctant to repatriate their citizens. 

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