Syria Kurds hunt terrorists in sweep of Al-Hol camp

4. Al-Hol 2
A girl looks on in the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp, which holds relatives of suspected Daesh fighters in Hasakeh Governorate, Syria, on August 26, 2022. (Photos: AFP)

Kurdish forces said Friday they had arrested dozens of suspects at a camp in Syria housing relatives of Daesh members as part of a crackdown on the extremists.اضافة اعلان

Al-Hol is the largest camp for displaced people who fled after Daesh was dislodged from its last scrap of Syrian territory in 2019 by Kurdish-led forces backed by a US-led coalition.

It is still home to more than 56,000 people, mostly Syrians and Iraqis but also including other foreigners linked to the terrorists.

The camp located in northeastern Syria has grown increasingly volatile this year, with at least 26 people murdered, according to the UN.

The sweep launched on Thursday “aims to arrest (Daesh) operatives in the camp who are behind terrorist attacks”, said Siyemend Ali of the People’s Protection Units, a Kurdish militia.

So far at least 27 suspects had been detained, he said from Al-Hol.

“Our forces began to dismantle empty tents used by (Daesh) during attacks and started registering the names of residents ... and collecting their fingerprints,” said Ali.

Kurdish security forces were heavily deployed in the camp on Friday, AFP correspondents said.

They mounted black armored vehicles and restricted the movement of people to carry out the operation, they added.

Women and children were patted down by security forces who ushered them to special rooms to get their fingerprints.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the start of the operation to clear Al-Hol on Thursday.

In a statement, the SDF called Al-Hol a “hot bed” for Daesh militants and their supporters, arguing it was a fertile ground for the group to gain new recruits.

The operation followed earlier campaigns launched in Al-Hol to flush extremist fighters out of the camp, it added.

Daesh’s self-declared caliphate, established from 2014, once stretched across vast parts of Syria and Iraq and administered millions of inhabitants.

A long and deadly military fightback led by Syrian and Iraqi forces with backing from the US and other powers eventually defeated the extremist proto-state in March 2019.

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