Iraq takes back 111 IS group-linked families from Syria

AFP , Monday 10 Jan 2022

Iraqi authorities have repatriated 111 Iraqi families linked to the Islamic State group from a Kurdish-run camp in northern Syria, a local official said on Monday.

Kurdish-run al-Hol camp
File Photo shows the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp, which holds relatives of suspected Islamic State (IS) group fighters in the northeastern Hasakeh governorate, on December 6, 2021. AFP

They arrived on Saturday and were transferred to Al-Jadaa camp south of Mosul, in Nineveh province, said the official who declined to be named.

Since May 2021, at least 339 families linked to the jihadist IS group have been moved from Al-Hol camp in northeast Syria to Al-Jadaa which hosts around 7,500 internally displaced people.

These include families of jihadists, some of whom hail from other parts of Iraq, including the provinces of Salaheddine and Ramadi, according to Iraqi authorities.

The prospect of their return to their places of origin has sparked concern among residents who survived the brutal rule of IS when it occupied one third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017.

In late 2017, Iraq declared "victory" over IS after driving the jihadists from all urban areas, with support from a US-led coalition.

Iraqi authorities announced last month their intention to close Al-Jadaa, the last camp sheltering displaced in Iraq, outside of the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

But the process is long and facing resistance from local populations who don't want IS group families among them.

According to the International Organization for Migration, six million Iraqis were displaced during the IS group rule.

Around 1.2 million of them still have not been able to go home, including more than 100,000 who live outside camps in "informal sites".

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