(Photo Credit: Mohammad Bash/shutterstock.com)
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that there is no military solution to solve the lawlessness of the Al-Hawl refugee camp in Syria’s Hasakah governorate. The notorious camp hosts families, relatives, and sleeper cells of the extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
General Michael Corella, the commander of the US Central Command warned of a humanitarian catastrophe, adding that “the camp posed a real threat to the region.”
In a statement issued by CENTCOM following a visit to the camp, Corella revealed that two members of the “Syrian Democratic Forces” were killed during clashes with “ISIS” elements on 8 September, stressing that these forces face great danger in their operation to “cleanse the camp” of ISIS sleeper cells.
بيان من القيادة المركزية الأميركية حول زيارة الجنرال كوريلا لـ مخيم الهول في 9 سبتمبر 2022. pic.twitter.com/gvqggzTchZ
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOMArabic) September 9, 2022
According to General Michael Corella more than 56,000 people, 90% of whom are women and children, reside in the camp. Meanwhile, extremely high temperatures and a severe water scarcity make living conditions unbearable.
The US commander explained that the camp has become “a fertile ground for the next generation of Islamic State extremists, as 70 percent of the population is under 12, and are vulnerable to extremism due to poor conditions.”
According to Corella, more than half of the refugees are Iraqis who fled their country from ISIS in 2017.
Corella said there is no military solution to the Al-Hawl situation. He also called on countries to evacuate their nationals from the camp.
The US Central Command stated that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) conducted raids inside the camp during the past two weeks, which led to “the arrest of dozens of ISIS members and the dismantling of a large network of facilities for the organization inside the camp and throughout Syria.”
“In addition, the SDF set freed four women, who were handcuffed and tortured by ISIS sleeper cells,” according to CENTCOM
In February, Corella highlighted concerns about Al-Hawl during the US Senate hearings in which he called for a broad approach to help the Syrian Democratic Forces repatriate some 60,000 people living inside the camp.