North and East Syria official says conditions in refugee and displacement camps is deteriorating, International Federation for Human Rights calls for repatriation of foreigners in Syria and Iraq

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — In a statement on Wednesday, head of Office of Refugees and Displaced People Affairs in the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria Sheikhmus Ahmed indicated that the conditions of the camps in North and East Syria have become tragic.

Ahmed said that the closure of the humanitarian border crossings in North and East Syria, including the Yarubiyah Border Crossing, has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the region generally and of the displaced people in camps in particular.

The failure of the United Nations to adequately support the camps that were established after the Turkish invasion of Tel Abyad, Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn), and Cafrin (Afrin) has left thousands in poor living conditions. The DAA, whose resources are strapped by war, a nationwide economic crisis, a pandemic, and a de facto embargo, is ill equipped to support the camps on its own.

He indicated that they had received assurances from the United Nations and international organizations about the provision of support to the camps.

During the course of the decade long Syrian Civil War, the DAA opened several camps in the North and East Syria, including Al-Hol, Al-Aresha, Nowruz, Washokani, and Roj camps.

While many of those in the camps are displaced civilians, tens of thousands of those in Al-Hol and Roj camps are affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS). Now, an increasing number of voices are calling for the foreigners among them — or at the very least their children — to be repatriated to their countries of origin.

File photo of women and children walk at Roj Camp in North and East Syria, where relatives of people suspected of belonging to the Islamic State (ISIS) are held. (Delil Souleiman / AFP)

The International Federation for Human Rights in Paris organized a forum on the situation of French children in the camps. A number of child welfare specialists have called on the French government to work to return French children of ISIS members and their mothers to France. There are between 200 and 300 French children in camps in North and East Syria.

During the forum, proponents of repatriate argued that if children continue to be left in the camps and returned one day alone full of anger, hatred and violence, this could pose major security problems. French children in the camps live in a near perpetual state of insecurity and are at risk of severe psychological and physical illness.

Claire Boucher, a judge at the Bobigny Juvenile Court, said these children need to play and go to school away from war. So far, 35 children have been returned to France, most of them orphans.

Member of the Moroccan Parliament and Secretary-General of the opposition Party of Authenticity and Modernity Abdullatif Wehbe called on Morocco to shoulder its responsibilities towards Moroccan children wherever they are, noting that there are displaced Moroccan children in Syria and Iraq who have lost their families.

There are a number of Moroccan women and children in camps in Syria and Iraq, however, the government has been afraid to repatriate them for fear of them committing terrorist attacks.