June 30, 2021 – 20:02
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says hundreds of children are being held in adult prisons in northeastern Syria.
The agency said the children, mostly boys, were sent to prisons after being taken from al-Hol camp, run by Syrian Kurdish forces. There are about 60,000 people in the camp who have been linked to Islamic State (IS) fighters from more than 60 countries.
Most are women and children who fled there after the last IS strongholds were destroyed two years ago.
“Hundreds of children, mostly boys, some as young as 12, are being held in adult prisons. They do not belong to these countries,” Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC Middle East Regional Director, told a news conference. .
Last year, this organization made 36 visits to detention facilities. The ICRC is the first organization to have such an approach.
The ICRC also called on countries to repatriate their nationals from al-Hol camp and keep families together “as required by international law”.
Carboni has visited al-Hol camp four times in the last two years.
“I just can’t get used to that look when I see so many kids behind barbed wire,” he said.
The international organization for children’s rights UNICEF said that last August, eight children under the age of 5 died in the camp, half of the complications related to malnutrition.
Citizens of Kosovo in Syria
About 100 Kosovars continue to remain in Syria and Iraq. According to the latest data from the Kosovo Police, there are mostly children there.
In a written response to Radio Free Europe, the Kosovo Police said that according to the latest data in their possession, there are still 96 Kosovars in the conflict zone, of which 43 men, nine women and 44 children, (including 32 children born in the conflict zone by at least one Kosovar parent). Meanwhile, the Atlantic Initiative from Sarajevo says that 97 people from Kosovo continue to be in the conflict zones, while 400 in total from the Western Balkans.
In April 2019, Kosovo institutions, assisted by US authorities, repatriated a group of 110 Kosovars, including four foreign fighters, 32 women and 74 children.
But for the remaining group in Syria, Kosovo institutions have not yet provided any information on whether work is underway for their repatriation. / REL