Civilian killings rise in NE Syrian al-Hol camp

About 20 in a month, blamed on 'IS cells'

19 February, 15:56

    BEIRUT - The number of killings of civilians has risen recently in a refugee camp in northeastern Syria: over the past month, about 20 people including both male and female IDPs have been killed in the al-Hol camp.

    The killings have been attributed to Islamic State cells, according to local and international humanitarian organizations.

    Located near the Syrian-Iraqi border in the Syrian region of Hasakah, the camp has for the past two years hosted tens of thousands of mostly Syrian and Iraqi IDPs from areas where IS had been present between 2014 and 2019.

    The camp, which some have called a "small Islamic State", is officially run by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the US-led coalition against the Islamic State.

    It had been created in the 1990s to host Iraqi refugees during the Gulf Wars.

    Since December 2018, the al-Hol camp has gradually filled with tens of thousands of mostly Syrians fleeing regions in eastern Syria in which a military campaign led by the coalition-backed SDF ended officially in Syria in the spring of 2019.

    The camp currently hosts about 65,000 people, around half of whom hold Iraqi nationality.

    Most of the camp inhabitants are women and children.

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