SDF detains several escapees from Al Hol camp after Turkish bombardment

Archive – Al Hol camp in Syria. – STRINGER / XINHUA NEWS / CONTACTOPHOTO

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have announced the arrest of several people who escaped on Wednesday from the Al Hol camp in northeastern Syria following a Turkish bombardment of the area around the facility as part of its offensive against Kurdish groups in the Arab country.

The spokesman for the SDF — headed by the Kurdish-Syrian militia People’s Protection Units (YPG) — Farhad Shami, has detailed through a series of messages on his account on the social network Twitter that «Turkish warplanes attacked the internal security forces responsible for protecting the Al Hol camp.»

«As a result, some Islamic State families were able to flee the camp,» he said, before stressing that «this shows that Turkey’s intention is to help Islamic State families and their members escape.»

However, he stressed that «internal security forces have arrested six members of Islamic State families, including three women» shortly after their escape and assured that «the exceptional security situation is under control».

«Despite this, the camp is still under the threat of Turkish reconnaissance aircraft loaded with rockets flying over the camp,» denounced Shami, who said that the SDF «is worried about the possibility of Turkey attacking prisons in the area.»

The attack was confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which indicated on its website that Turkish planes had executed two bombings against a protection center in Al Hol and described «a state of chaos and fear» among the residents.

The Al Hol camp, located in northeastern Syria and under SDF control, hosts thousands of relatives of Islamic State members, mostly women and children, although there are also detainees who have no connection to the jihadist group.

Several NGOs have raised alarms about the situation in the camp, the scene of killings and attacks in the absence of adequate living conditions, and have called on countries with nationals in Al Hol to speed up repatriations.

The Turkish bombings took place in the framework of its operation ‘Sword Claw’, launched on Monday against Kurdish groups – mainly the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the YPG in Iraq and Syria – following the November 13 attack in Istanbul, which left six dead and more than 80 wounded.

The Turkish government has blamed the attack on the PKK and said that the main suspect had received orders from the YPG, although both the PKK and the SDF have disassociated themselves from the attack and expressed their condolences to the victims.