6000 Syrian nationals have left the Hol Camp

As part of a reintegration program negotiated between the self-government of Northern and Eastern Syria and tribal elders, 6,000 Syrian citizens have so far left Hol Camp. Another 300 people are preparing for it.

The Hol Camp, located 45 kilometers east of Hesekê, is considered the breeding ground of the IS. Jihadists have built up their own structures and commit atrocities against people who do not live up to the standards of IS. It is not for nothing that the camp, which is hardly controllable in many areas, has the reputation of being the new capital of the IS. The situation there is related to the lack of international support for the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria and the permanent attacks by Turkey. The Turkish secret service MIT supports the jihadists in the camp and has helped some to escape.

The refugee camp, which was built in 1991 during the Gulf War, had to take in further refugees in 2003 after the U.S. intervention in Iraq. After the liberation of the region from the IS, the Autonomous Administration of of North and East Syria took control of the camp in 2015 and opened it to internally displaced persons from Syria. After that, more protection-seekers arrived from Mosul.

When the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) took the last IS enclave al-Baghouz in eastern Syria in March 2019, a special area was set up at Hol Camp to house IS supporters with their children. Since then, the Autonomous Administration has been conducting investigations to reintegrate into society persons who have not committed crimes against the population. In cooperation with tribal elders from Syria, a return program has been set up through which volunteers can leave the camp. In this framework, 800 women and children from Raqqa were the first group to leave the camp. This was followed by 27 other groups from Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa and Tabqa. In total, 4789 people were involved.

Due to the extreme humanitarian emergency in the camp and corresponding demands by the local tribes, the Autonomous Administration also decided in October to release all Syrian nationals from the camp under a general amnesty. Leaving the camp is voluntary, because many inhabitants do not know where to go. Since then 1211 more people have left the camp.

According to the camp management, 23,167 Syrian citizens from 6,451 families are currently in Hol Camp. 75 families plan to leave the camp in the coming week. In addition, 30,606 Iraqi nationals and 9544 persons of other nationalities still live in Hol Camp.