On Monday 13 March 2023, from 16:00-17:30 (CET), the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) held a Live Webinar on al-Hol moderated by Dr. Joana Cook.
Years after the Islamic State’s territorial defeat in Syria, and the group’s loss of its last bastion in al-Baghouz, tens of thousands of individuals, the large majority of which are women and children, are still held in dire living conditions in northeast Syria’s camps. In recent years, both local and global efforts to repatriate the residents of Al-Hol have gradually gained momentum in light of the critical humanitarian and security situations inside the camp. The process of repatriating and reintegrating those held at Al-Hol is understandably a complex task involving considerations around screening and risk assessment processes, and with numerous barriers to the effective reintegration of those willing to return to their areas of origin. In addition to these challenges standing in the way of those able to return, there is also a significant number of Al-Hol residents who are unable, and in some cases, unwilling to return to their areas of origins, often leaving these people with bleak long-term prospects. This Live Briefing discussed a number of key issues relating to the on-the-ground happenings and future prospects of Syria’s Al-Hol camp and its residents.
Dr. Joana Cook, Senior Project Manager at ICCT and Editor-in-Chief of the ICCT journal
Luc Chounet-Cambas, independent consultant, discussed screening and risk assessment procedures taking place in al-Hol camp, including specificities and limits;
Mohammed Shikh Aiyob, Founder and General Director of Middle East Consulting Solutions (MECS), focused on the effectiveness and barriers to the reintegration of al-Hol returnees;
Schadi Semnani, independent consultant, reflected on the long-term prospects for populations unable or unwilling to leave al-Hol camp;
Devorah Margolin, Blumenstein-Rosenbloom Fellow at The Washington Institute and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, finally discussed international efforts and issues related to the repatriation of third-country nationals from al-Hol camp.