Small Wars Journal

The Islamic State’s Refugees are Facing a Humanitarian Calamity

Wed, 04/03/2019 - 1:45am

The Islamic State’s Refugees are Facing a Humanitarian Calamity by Erin Cunningham and Kamiran Sadoun – Washington Post

AL-HOL, Syria - A humanitarian crisis is erupting in northeastern Syria as tens of thousands of people who fled intense fighting in last month’s decisive battle against the Islamic State are flooding into a desperately overcrowded tent camp atop a rocky hill here.


More than 73,000 people, mostly women and children, are now packed into the sprawling al-Hol camp, under the control of U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. The camp, which opened in 1991 to host Iraqi refugees from the Persian Gulf War, was originally designed to hold barely half that number.


Amid a sea of white tents, thousands sleep in communal spaces, and children defecate outside. The war wounded are often left untreated.


Thousands more are malnourished. There are just three mobile clinics at the camp, and local hospitals are swollen with patients critically wounded in the war. Those with non-life-threatening injuries often are given painkillers or antibiotics and sent on their way.


Last week, 31 people died on the way to the camp or shortly after arriving because of traumatic injuries and malnutrition, according to the International Rescue Committee, bringing the total number of such deaths to 217…

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