ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Syrian Kurdish authorities on Sunday revealed plans to transfer up to 800 women and children, including relatives of the so-called Islamic State, to their families from the sprawling Al-Hol camp in northern Syria.
A member of the Kurdish administration’s executive council said the transfer is expected to be made on Monday and would be the first such group handed over to family members who live in other parts of Syria.
Abd al-Mehbach, the co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), told AFP the transfer was made possible at the request of local Arab tribes following an agreement reached during a meeting last month.
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Mehbach said the second batch of roughly 800 women and children would be completed after the Islamic Eid holiday, which begins following the end of fasting in Ramadan.
“Not all of those being released are relatives of ISIS fighters,” the Kurdish official was quoted as saying by AFP, noting most are displaced Syrians who had fled their homes during the months of fighting between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the terror group.
According to Mehbach, many of the 800 are from the city of Raqqa – once the Islamic State’s de facto capital – and from the town of Tabqa, located 70 kilometers (43 miles) west of Raqqa.
“It is the [Kurdish] administration’s duty to its people to play a role in the rehabilitation of these women and children, and their reintegration into society,” he added.
For months, the Al-Hol camp has been far over its capacity for residents and currently houses around 74,000 people, many of them women and children.
The camp witnessed an increase in numbers of residents as the SDF, backed by the US-led coalition, launched an offensive to defeat the Islamic State in its last bastion of Baghouz, which ended on March 23.