Islamic State attempts suicide bombing in Syria’s al-Hol camp

One of the vehicles exploded prematurely about 20 km northeast of the camp, alerting nearby US partner forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), CENTCOM spokesman Col. Joe Buccino.

When the FDS arrived at the scene, two men got out of the second vehicle. One man detonated a suicide vest, Buccino said, while the second was shot dead by SDF forces. Another Islamic State militant is detained by the SDF.

The second vehicle was equipped with about 110 pounds of explosives, Buccino said. A total of four ISIS militants were killed in the engagement, including in the first vehicle which exploded prematurely.

“The response of our partner forces not only highlights their dedication to their people, but also their tenacity and commitment to the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Buccino said.

Earlier this month, Jan. Erik Kurilla became the first U.S. Central Command commander to visit al-Hol camp and the highest-ranking U.S. official to ever speak with camp residents in person, Buccino said.

The camp has seen sporadic violence in the past, making Kurilla’s visit a strong statement of US support for the SDF, which is struggling to control the area. Kurilla spoke with the residents of the camp and offered his condolences to the SDF who recently lost two soldiers during operations there.

“With around 80 births in the camp each month, this place is a literal breeding ground for the next generation of ISIS. Around 70% of the population is under the age of 12. These young people are vulnerable to radicalization given their very poor quality of life,” Kurilla said in a statement after his visit.

In recent weeks, the SDF have carried out security operations in the camp, according to CENTCOM. This resulted in “the arrest of dozens of ISIS operatives and the disbandment of a large Islamic State facilitation network both in the camp and throughout Syria”, according to Buccino.

Kurilla raised concerns about al-Hol in February during his Senate confirmation hearings, calling for a broad government-wide approach to help the Syrian Democratic Forces repatriate some of the 60,000 people living at the site. . “What worries me is that there’s an indoctrination going on there,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.