AL-HOL, Syria — The disregard of Europe for its citizens who traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS) and are now detained in Al-Hol camp in North and East Syria is disturbing, wrote David Ignatius in The Washington Post.
Ignatius stressed that the unwillingness of many western countries to repatriate their citizens from Al-Hol is unacceptable.
Conditions for thousands of ISIS fighters and their families detained in Syria are terrible, and while sympathy for them is hard to come by, European governments mostly remain silent because this suits them politically, according to Ignatius.
President of the International Committee for the Red Cross Peter Maurer sharply criticized the unwillingness of some western countries to repatriate their nationals or explain their status at Al-Hol.
“Every time I go to Al-Hol Camp, the situation becomes more unacceptable,” he stated.
Maurer said he was troubled by the refusal of many countries to consider their nationals repatriation, or to clarify whether they are prisoners or refugees.
“There is no status definition or accusation of crime that would lead to any due process,” he said. “That’s unacceptable to me as a guardian of the Geneva Conventions.”
Maurer noted that when countries in the Middle East have agreed to take refugees back, they have often been successfully rehabilitated and that he plans to share these “positive experiences” when he meets with government officials over the next few months.