AL-HOL CAMP, Syria — The Internal Security Forces (ISF) of North and East Syria thwarted a smuggling operation inside Al-Hol Refugee Camp on Monday. Drivers of a water tanker were attempting to smuggle women associated with the Islamic State (ISIS) out of the camp by hiding them inside the empty water tank.
The drivers and the truck were incorrectly identified as working for and belonging to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). The NRC has released a statement denying their personnel or equipment were involved in the smuggling.
“NRC has investigated the matter and has concluded that neither the driver nor the truck allegedly involved were operating on behalf of our organisation, nor any of our contractors,” read the statement. “NRC denies that it is in any way linked to alleged smuggling of people and will continue to focus on supporting displaced vulnerable people in Syria and in the region.”
North Press Agency obtained a video from private sources in Al-Hol which shows the moment the ISF arrested four female foreign nationals affiliated with ISIS hiding in the truck.
Hasakah: A driver of a United Nations organization smuggles ISIS families from Hawl camp – North Press pic.twitter.com/eq03IhzNbK
— NORTH PRESS AGENCY – ENGLISH (@NPA_English) July 27, 2020
This is not the first time that the ISF have thwarted attempts to smuggle ISIS members out of Al-Hol.
There are about 11,000 women and children of ISIS families from 54 countries currently detained in a separate section of Al-Hol Refugee Camp, according to the camp administration.