Iraq’s National Security Adviser Qassem al-Araji said Saturday that his country has repatriated dozens of families who were affiliated or are suspected of collaborating with ISIS in mid-2014, when it controlled over about one third of Iraq’s territory.
He said members of these families settled in al-Hol camp for displaced people in Syria after the organization’s defeat in 2017.
Iraq transferred 450 families from al-Hol camp to the UN-sponsored al-Jada camp for psychological rehabilitation, Araji told an international conference about the camp.
The official also revealed that the government has decided to transfer more Iraqi families from al-Hol camp in the coming months.
He pointed out that there are 30,000 Iraqis in the camp, 20,000 of which are under-age.
The camp, along with other areas east of Syria, pose an extremist threat for Iraq’s national security, Araji stressed, urging its rapid dismantlement.
Prisons run by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces hold an estimated 12,000 ISIS members, and the group aims to mount further operations similar to the January attack in a bid to free them, Araji said.
In January, ISIS militants carried out their biggest assault in Syria in years, attacking a prison in the Kurdish-controlled northeastern city of Hasakah to free the ISIS prisoners.
Almost a week of intense fighting left more than 370 people dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Araji affirmed that most ISIS leaders are in prison, adding that the Joint Operations Command, the National Security Apparatus and the Intelligence Service have formed a security team to inspect all the displaced from al-Hol camp.
He called on the international community to support Iraq’s efforts to dismantle the camp and return all the terrorists to their countries for prosecution.
The camp houses almost 56,000 including displaced Syrians and Iraqi refugees, some of whom maintain links with the ISIS group.