Charity says 62 children died this year in the Syrian camp al-Hol

A Syrian refugee family in southern Turkey in February 2014. Photo: UNHCR
A Syrian refugee family in southern Turkey in February 2014. Photo: UNHCR

Sixty two children have died of different causes in an overcrowded Syrian prison camp, for mostly Islamic State families, in north-east Syria, Save the Children said on Thursday.

“Sixty-two children, or approximately two every week, have died of different causes in al-Hol so far this year,” according to a report published by the organization.

It added that the cause of the death varied between “avoidable illness and deaths caused by fires, poor water and sanitation, malnutrition, and a barely functioning health-care system.”

The charity said the al-Hol and Roj camps are home to over 60,000 people, 40,000 of whom are children.

According to the UN, thousands of former supporters of the Islamic State terrorist militia and their children, including many German nationals, live there.
Germany brought back three women and 12 children in December, but there are still many more Germans living in the camps.

“It is more urgent than ever that foreign governments with nationals in al-Hol and Roj – many of whom fled their homes to escape [Islamic State] – take responsibility and bring children and their families home,” said the organization.

Save the Children accused EU countries, Britain, Canada and Australia of a lack of political will in repatriating their citizens.

“Every day that foreign children and their families stay in the camps are another day they are failed by their governments,” Sonia Khush, director of Save the Children’s Syria response, said.

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