From file: Refugees at the Al Hol camp in northeast Syria | Photo: EPA/Nabil Mounzer
From file: Refugees at the Al Hol camp in northeast Syria | Photo: EPA/Nabil Mounzer

The United Nations has launched an alarm over deteriorating security conditions at Al Hol camp in northeast Syria, where there have been 12 murders in just under two weeks.

Twelve murders have taken place in a refugee camp in northeast Syria in just under two weeks, according to the United Nations in a statement released on January 21, launching an alarm over an "increasingly untenable security environment."

Controlled by Kurdish forces, the Al Hol camp is Syria's largest, hosting nearly 62,000 people, 80% of whom are women and children, whose nationalities range from Syrian to Iraqi as well as thousands from other far away countries both European and Asian.

Many of the foreigners belong to families of ISIS jihadists, who in 2014 had conquered vast areas of Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi and Syrian refugees at the camp are for the most part those who fled from subsequent battles between ISIS and Kurdish forces.

Concern over security conditions at the camp

"The United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Imran Riza, and the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Muhannad Hadi, express their serious concern over the deteriorating security conditions at Al Hol camp, in northeast Syria," the UN statement said.

"Between 1 and 16 January, the UN received reports of the murders of 12 Syrian and Iraqi camp residents, including one female Iraqi refugee. Another person was critically injured in a violent attack."

Guaranteeing protection to residents of the camp

The recent rise in violence among the camp population "not only represents a tragic loss of life, it also jeopardizes the ability for the UN and humanitarian partners to continue to safely deliver critical humanitarian assistance and services to residents," the statement said.

The UN officials "emphasize that the safety and wellbeing of people at Al Hol is of the utmost importance and urge all relevant parties to ensure the protection of camp residents and humanitarian workers alike" and they also "underscore the urgent need for durable solutions to be found for every person living in the camp, noting that such solutions must be informed, voluntary, and dignified."


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