Four women freed after being kept in chains by ISIS at Syria's Al Hol Camp

A security operation has been conducted at the camp over the past two weeks

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The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have liberated four women held by ISIS supporters at Al Hol displacement camp in north-eastern Syria, the US military said on Wednesday.

The four women were found in tunnels, chained and tortured by ISIS supporters, on Monday, during a security operation conducted by the SDF at the camp over the past two weeks, US Central Command (Centcom) said in a statement.

The operation also resulted in the arrest of dozens of ISIS operatives and the dissolution of a major ISIS facilitation network both within the camp and throughout Syria, Col Joe Buccino, Centcom's communications director, said in the statement.

The US Combined Joint Task Force is advising, assisting, and enabling the SDF in the operation, in co-ordination with camp administration officials, Mr Buccino added.

“This operation will make the camp safer for those residents who remain or wish to return to their countries of origin, but are unable to do so,” Centcom said.

Video released by the SDF showed young women chained by the ankle inside tents at the camp.

Centcom called on the international community to support the SDF's efforts in eliminating the ISIS threat through repatriation.

North-eastern Syria is controlled by the US-backed and Kurdish-led SDF. The region continues to host nearly 87,000 people who have fled areas affected by hostilities, in addition to long-term refugees from Iraq, and stranded women and children from more than 60 countries in camps like Al Hol, according to figures provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The camp is overcrowded, with its population of about 56,000, mostly women and children, living in miserable conditions.

They have been stranded there since 2019 after the defeat of ISIS in Syria on the grounds that they are, or are suspected to be, relatives of ISIS extremists.

About 10,000 of Al Hol's population are non-Arab foreigners, with the rest are mostly from Syria and Iraq.

Updated: September 07, 2022, 7:01 PM
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