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Sunday, 04 December 2022
The US Approach to Al-Hol Camp for ISIS Detainees in Northern Syria
Jwan Dibo

From time to time, the US pretends that it is interested in finding a solution to the dilemma of Al-Hol prison camp in northern Syria. This camp was established following the destruction of the last ISIS stronghold in Syria by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Global Coalition against Daesh in the town of Baghouz in 2019.

Al-Hol camp is located on the outskirts of the town of Al-Hol in Al-Hasaka, northern Syria, adjacent to the Iraqi border. It includes around 60,000 refugees, more than 90 percent of whom are children and women who make up the families of ISIS combatants who were captured in their last bastion in the town of Baghouz.

In order for the US to show some credibility to this allegation, some American officials made a few visits to this camp, which is considered a ticking time bomb against SDF and the region in general. Note that this bomb has exploded several times in the very recent past.

The last visit of a high-ranking US official was by the General of the US Army and the supervisor of all US forces in the Middle East, Michael Eric Corella, on the 9th of this month. Senator Lindsey Graham and the commander of the international coalition forces against ISIS in Iraq and Syria had previously visited Ghweran prison in al-Hasaka and al-Hol camp.

After each visit, the American visitors declare the necessity of emptying the camp urging the relevant countries to receive their citizens. However, on the ground, nothing is happening, and the countries concerned are still reluctant to take back their nationals, especially EU countries. On the contrary, things are going from bad to worse in Al-Hole camp as well as in Ghweran jail.

So far, the US has not been able to persuade the countries concerned to receive their citizens from ISIS fighters who are being held by the SDF. The US, also, did not provide sufficient support to the SDF neither financially nor in terms of equipment, to enable the SDF to monitor prisoners from ISIS terrorists.

All that Washington has made so far are mere promises that have not been translated on the ground, and there are no indications of the possibility of turning those pledges into a reality. This, in turn, reflects, as usual, Washington's lack of seriousness in dealing with this issue and not considering it a priority.

The latest US emphasis on the issue of al-Hol detention camp for Islamic State detainees in northern Syria is often to throw ashes in the eyes. For Washington, to leave al-Hol camp unresolved reflects many of the puzzles of the dirty game of nations that have been taking place in succession on Syrian geography since 2011.

It seems that Washington is benefiting from keeping this time bomb. On the one hand, this time bomb poses a threat to Russia, the Syrian regime and Iran, according to Washington estimates. On the second hand, this outstanding issue remains an excuse for Washington's unlimited and incomprehensible presence in Syria.

On the third hand, Washington realises that if Turkey carries out its threats to invade northeastern Syria, this will increase the morale of the ISIS prisoners, and will even release them from their prisons. This will result in more shuffling and more creative chaos that Uncle Sam has always been working for.

BY: Jwan Dibo