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Kurdish forces in Syria have evacuated 300 ISIS fighters from al-Hol refugee camp as part of an ongoing operation to eliminate the the presence and influence of the terrorist group In the region.
“ISIS preys on the weak and disenfranchised and tries to exploit the conditions in the camp to help regenerate its forces,” said Major General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of US Central Command ( CENTCOM). “The situation in al-Hol is an international crisis that requires an international solution, and the only permanent solution is the repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration of camp residents.”
The 24-day operation concluded with clearingwhich also resulted in the rescue of six women who ISIS fighters had chained and tortured – one of whom had remained in their custody since 2014 when she was nine years old.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) carried out the operation with the support of CENTCOM by sharing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
“During the 24-day clearance operation, the SDF arrested around 300 ISIS operatives, confiscated 25 kilograms of explosives and 25 hand grenades, and removed the camp’s supplies and logistical equipment from the camp. ‘Islamic State,’ CENTCOM said in a statement on Sunday.
On September 8, two SDF operatives were killed in engagements with ISIS fighters in the camp during the operation, the statement added.
CENTCOM focused on the 60,000-person camp with an operation that began on August 28. 25. Kurilla visited the camp last week and warned that the conditions made it an ideal target for the Islamic State to “spread their despicable ideology”.
“Most residents seek to escape ISIS, but ISIS views the camp as a captive audience for its message and recruitment efforts,” Kurilla said. “It is therefore urgent that we repatriate the residents to their countries of origin and rehabilitate them if necessary.”
The al-Hol camp is Syria’s largest refugee camp, with children making up more than half of the camp’s population, according to The Washington Post. The extremists in the camp had would have killed 44 of its inhabitants and aid workers.