Fire breaks out at Syria's Al Hol camp housing ISIS-linked families

Blaze caused material damage to the camp, but there were no casualties

About 51,000 people live at Al Hol Camp, most of them women and children. AFP
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A fire began on Wednesday at the sprawling Al Hol camp in north-east Syria, which houses tens of thousands of mostly women and children linked to ISIS, causing material damage but no casualties, the camp’s director said.

About 51,000 people live at Al Hol Camp, the vast majority of them women and children, including the wives, widows and other family members of ISIS militants.

Most are Syrians and Iraqis.

However, there are also about 8,000 women and children from 60 other nationalities who live in a part of the camp known as the Annexe.

They are generally considered the most diehard ISIS supporters among the camp residents.

The camp’s director, Jihan Hanan, told reporters that the fire broke out in the Annexe, torching 10 tents and reaching a centre for an organisation that takes care of children.

She added that a container used by the centre was burnt as well.

Ms Hanan said the cause of the fire was still unknown.

The local Kurdish police force known as Asayesh brought tanker lorries from outside the camp to extinguish the fire, she added.

Miserable conditions at Al Hol camp in north-east Syria – in pictures

The camp population is down from its height of 73,000, mostly because Syrians and Iraqis were allowed to go home.

But other countries have largely balked at taking back their citizens who travelled to join ISIS after the radical group seized large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Despite the extremist group’s defeat in Iraq in 2017 and Syria in 2019, ISIS sleeper cells still carry out deadly attacks in both countries.

Updated: August 09, 2023, 9:47 PM