Iraq repatriates 580 residents of Syria's Al Hol camp
Mosul, Iraq (AFP) – Iraq has repatriated 580 residents of Syria's Al-Hol displacement camp which houses relatives of suspected Islamic State group jihadists, the US army and an Iraqi official said.
CENTCOM Commander Lauds Iraq’s Repatriation of al-Hol Residentshttps://t.co/1HAG7Iop1B pic.twitter.com/gQ1yMfBw2w— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) January 18, 2023
The US military's Central Command said in a statement Wednesday that "142 Iraqi families comprising 580 people" were transferred to Iraq's Jadaa facility on January 14.
The Jadaa camp is a compound near the northern city of Mosul presented by Iraqi authorities as a "rehabilitation" centre for those returning from Syria.
Iraq's national security adviser Qassem al-Araji said in a tweet late Tuesday that "efforts by the Iraqi government" had resulted in the transfer.
Syria's Kurdish-run Al-Hol camp, in the country's north, is home to more than 50,000 people including family members of suspected IS militants as well as displaced Syrians and Iraqi refugees.
It is the largest camp for displaced people who fled after IS fighters were dislodged from their last scrap of territory in Syria in 2019.
Since May 2021, hundreds of Iraqi families have been transferred from Al-Hol to Jadaa, according to Baghdad.
In December that year, the Iraqi authorities signalled their intention to close Jadaa, the last camp sheltering displaced people in Iraq outside of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, which is home to 26 such settlements.
But the process is long and faces resistance from local populations who object to having IS families among them.
IS seized vast areas of Iraq and Syria in 2014 and ruled with brutality until local forces backed by the US-led coalition defeated them, first in Iraq in late 2017 and then in Syria in March 2019.
According to International Organization for Migration, six million Iraqis were displaced during IS's rule, while 1.2 million of them have yet to return to their homes.