US-backed Syrian forces raid camp and arrested nine people from Islamic State families
Thousands of Kurdish-led forces, with assistance from the U.S.-led coalition, launched a military operation Sunday at a sprawling camp in northeast Syria, in a new effort to identify and arrest Islamic State militants and tamp down escalating killings and violence in the camp.
The security sweep at the al-Hol camp will continue over time and is being conducted with “indirect” intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support provided by the coalition, U.S. officials said Sunday.
The Kurdish-led forces said they have nearly 5,000 fighters participating in the operation and on Sunday they arrested nine people, including an Iraqi ISIS member who worked in recruitment.
The al-Hol camp houses some 62,000 people, including wives and children of ISIS members, and U.S. officials say it has become a breeding ground for the next generation of Islamic State militants.
There have been 47 killings in the camp since the start of 2021, according to the Kurdish-led forces, while U.S officials put the figure at well over 60.
Military leaders have long warned of the growing security problems in the camp. In comments to the Middle East Institute in February, Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said the “systemic indoctrination” of the camp’s population to ISIS ideology is an alarming, long-term risk.
Col. Wayne Marotta, spokesman for the U.S.-backed coalition, said the new military operation is designed to disrupt ISIS activities in the camp and ensure the security of the residents.
He said coalition forces will provide support during the operation “for early warning and situational awareness.” He added that “coalition forces will be in a rear support position, but are/will be close enough to provide operation advisement, assistance and enablement.”
Source: Military Times