Iraq repatriates 580 residents of Syria's Al Hol camp

US military says 142 Iraqi families were transferred to Jadaa camp near Mosul

A Syrian girl sits in a truck after being released from the Kurdish-run Al-Hol camp, which holds relatives of suspected Islamic State (IS) group fighters, in the northeastern Syrian Hasakeh governorate, on June 2, 2021.  / AFP / Delil SOULEIMAN
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Iraq has repatriated 580 residents of Syria's Al Hol displacement camp that houses relatives of suspected ISIS extremists, the US army and an Iraqi official have said.

The US military's Central Command said on Wednesday that “142 Iraqi families, comprising 580 people”, were transferred to Iraq's Jadaa camp on January 14.

Jadaa, near the northern city of Mosul, has been described by Iraqi authorities as a “rehabilitation” centre for those returning from Syria.

Iraq's national security adviser Qassem Al Araji said in a tweet on Tuesday evening that “efforts by the Iraqi government” had resulted in the transfer.

The Kurdish-run Al Hol camp, in Syria's north, is home to more than 50,000 people, including family members of suspected ISIS militants, as well as displaced Syrians and Iraqi refugees.

It is the largest camp for displaced people who fled after ISIS was dislodged from its last stronghold in Syria in 2019.

Since May 2021, hundreds of Iraqi families have been transferred from Al Hol to Jadaa.

In December 2021, Baghdad signalled its intention to close Jadaa, the last camp housing displaced people in Iraq, with the exception of the autonomous region of Kurdistan, which is home to 26 similar settlements.

But the process is long and faces resistance from local populations who object to living with the families of ISIS members.

ISIS 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 Organisation for Migration, six million Iraqis were displaced during ISIS's rule while 1.2 million of them have yet to return to their homes.

Updated: January 19, 2023, 5:24 AM