U.S.-backed Syrian Army assault camp on ISIS family arrest

Beirut — Thousands of Kurdish-led troops launch a military operation in a vast camp in northeastern Syria on Sunday as a new effort to identify and arrest ISIS with the support of a U.S.-led coalition. It has started terrorist Suppress escalating murder and violence in the camp.

Security sweeps at Alhol Camp have been ongoing for a long time, with the support of “indirect” intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance provided by the Union, according to US officials.

A Kurdish-led unit said nearly 5,000 fighters were involved in the operation and on Sunday arrested nine, including Iraqi ISIS members who were recruited.

The Alhol camp houses approximately 62,000 people, including the wives and children of ISIS members, and US officials say it is a breeding ground for the next generation of ISIS terrorists.

Forty-seven people have been killed in the camp since early 2021, according to Kurdish-led troops, far more than 60, US officials say.

Military leaders have long warned of growing security issues in camps. In a February comment to the Middle East Institute, General Frank Mackenzie, head of the U.S. Central Army, said the “systematic indoctrination” of the camp’s population into the ISIS ideology was a alarming long-term risk. I did.

Colonel Wayne Marotta, a US-backed coalition spokesman, said the new military operation was designed to disrupt ISIS operations in the camp and ensure the safety of its inhabitants.

He said the Allied Forces would provide support during the operation “for early alert and situational awareness.” “The Allies are in a position of rear support, but are close enough / close enough to provide operational advice, support, and activation,” he added.

Marotta also said that Kurdish-led troops used biometric technology to enroll residents in camps to “keep them safe by identifying people involved in terrorist activity (in the camp).” Said that.

Most of the recent casualties in Alhor were shot at close range to the back of the head, according to the Rojava Information Center, a group of activists tracking news in areas dominated by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kurdish-led troops. .. : Syrian Defense Forces and local Kurdish security forces known as Asayish.

Discarded ISIS flag
This photo, taken on March 24, 2019, shows the flag of an abandoned ISIS terrorist group lying on the ground in the village of Bugs in Deir ez-Zor, eastern Syria, near the Iraqi border. (GiuseppeCacace / AFP via Getty Images)

Among those killed so far this year were police officers shot dead, Iraqi men struck, local civil servants shot, and at least five women. According to RIC, most people were killed in tents and shelters at night.

According to Syrian Kurdish officials who run the camp, the killings in the camp were primarily believed to have been carried out by ISIS terrorists who punished perceived enemies and threatened those swaying from the extremist line. Has been

Due to the surge in violence, there are increasing calls for countries to repatriate citizens suffering from camps. Repatriation was already restricted, but was dramatically delayed due to the coronavirus epidemic.

“Unless the international community finds a way to repatriate, reintegrate into the local community and support a locally grown reconciliation program, as these children become more radical, we will indoctrinate the next generation of ISIS. You will witness, “Mackenzie said last month. “The inability to deal with this means that ISIS will never be truly defeated because the ideology will continue into the future.”

Mackenzie and other US defense officials have complained about the slow pace of refugees’ repatriation.

In a comment to the U.S. Peace Institute last summer, McKenzie said, “We may be very slow because we can either address this issue now or it could worsen exponentially in the next few years. I’m worried about it. ” “And tactically I’m worried about the possibility of a large-scale infection in a camp with the coronavirus, but again, there are many other bad things that can happen in that camp as well. . “

Alhor houses wives, widows, children, and other families of ISIS terrorists, hundreds of whom are in prison. More than 80% of the 62,000 camp residents are women and children. Earlier this year, Mackenzie said that about two-thirds of the population was under the age of 18, more than half were under the age of 12, and one-third were under the age of five.

The majority of the population is Iraqi and Syrian, but there are also about 10,000 people from 57 other countries.

Two years have passed since the U.S.-led coalition captured the last fragment of territory held by ISIS. Terrorist groupEnds the self-declared caliphate that covered most of Iraq and Syria. The brutal war took years, with US allies Kurdish authorities controlling eastern and northeastern Syria, with hundreds of US troops still deployed there.

Since then, the rest of the ISIS terrorists have sneaked underground in the border area between Syria and Iraq and have continued to revolt. Thousands of families staying on the last land held by the group were moved to camps or prisons.

Sarah El Dive and Lolita C. Bardor