Repatriation of ISIS-linked families from Syria to Iraq angers locals

Eleven-bus convoy expected to arrive at Al Jadaa camp on Tuesday

A member of Kurdish security watches preparations as another group of Syrian families is 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 May 11, 2021. / AFP / Delil SOULEIMAN
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Families linked to ISIS are on their way back to Iraq after leaving Al Hol camp in north-eastern Syria, an Iraqi official told The National.

The 100 families are the first group of 500 who the Iraqi government has allowed to return and shelter in a camp outside the northern city of Mosul, Iraqi legislator Sherwan Dubardani said.

An 11-bus convoy is expected to arrive at Al Jadaa camp on Tuesday, Mr Dubardani said.

More than 1,000 with members linked to the extremist group are already living in the camp.

The plan has drawn fierce criticism, with locals claiming the returning families are a threat to the local community.

“The situation is not suitable to receive them and they didn’t co-ordinate with us,” said Mr Dubardani, who represents Nineveh province.

“There are no plans on how to rehabilitate them and help them re-engage in society.

“We have not solved the problem of the more than 1,000 ISIS families we have now."

More than 30,000 Iraqis are being held at Al Hol camp, with many coming from Baghouz, the border town where ISIS made its final stand in 2019.

Many of them fled to Syria from Iraq as the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate withered after 2016.