After Al-Sina’a prison visit, UNICEF calls on countries to repatriate their ISIS children

GHWERAN, Syria A delegation from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) visited Al-Sina’a prison in Hasakah, North and East Syria. The international delegation visited the dormitories allocated for children associated with the Islamic State (ISIS) in order to examine their conditions inside the prison.

The delegation was headed by UNICEF Representative in Syria Bo Victor Nylund, and the Director of the UNICEF office in Zalin (Qamishli) Natasha Stoykovska. The group was accompanied by officers of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to ensure the safety of UNICEF personnel. During the tour, SDF officers explained the situation in the detention facility, providing information about the situation of ISIS adolescents as well as repercussions of the ISIS attack on the prison.

Securing a field visit of the United Nations to al-Sina’a prison in al-Hasaka


Shortly after the visit, UNICEF issued a statement regarding the ISIS attack on Al-Sina’a prison, calling on all stakeholders to urgently find long-term solutions that are in the best interest of the children. The United Nations body expressed its willingness to help provide a new safe place in North and East Syria, to take care of the most vulnerable children – some as young as 12 years old.

UNICEF also acknowledged efforts by the local authorities, the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria, in stabilising the situation in and outside of the Al-Sina’a prison.” The work done to assess the condition of the children and support their care and protection has been invaluable and it needs to continue,” read the UNICEF statement.

With regards to the children with foreign roots, UNICEF called “on member states of foreign children to repatriate these children urgently, consistent with their best interests.” The organisation expressed its readiness to facilitate the speedy and systematic repatriation of foreign children, and the reintegration of children currently held in Syria within their communities of origin. The UNICEF statement closed with the conclusion that “The current pace of repatriation and reintegration of children stranded in northeast Syria is far too slow. This is unacceptable”.