Doctors Without Borders
Syria: Danger and Desperation in ‘Outdoor Prison’ Al Khor Camp
Many people, including women and children, have been arbitrarily detained indefinitely and sent to medical care in the Al Khor refugee camp in northeast Syria, home to many displaced people from Islamic State-controlled territory. Access to the Internet is also restricted, with no prospect of exiting a world of crime, violence and
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is pleased to announce the report “Between Two”, which summarizes the medical data from MSF’s work, a similar tragedy, and two boys who died due to delays in obtaining ambulance clearance. Fires: Danger and Desperation in Syria’s Al-Hol Camp” (English). It highlights the brutality of the long-term detention of people living in the camps, advocates for access to basic medical care and the safe repatriation of foreigners detained in the camps.
Arhor Camp = March 9, 2020 (C) Ricardo Garcia Vilanova
tragic death of children
In February 2021, a 7-year-old boy was brought to the MSF clinic in the Alholl camp. He had second-degree burns that reached the dermis on his face and arms. Two days later, camp authorities allowed the boy to be transferred, despite critical care facilities within an hour’s drive away, and he died in agony en route to hospital, separated from his mother. .
Just a few months later, in May, a 5-year-old boy who had been hit by a truck was brought to the same clinic. Due to the need for emergency surgery, MSF staff urged the boy to be transferred to hospital as soon as possible, but it took hours to get permission, and the boy died alone on the way to the hospital, unconscious.
Children under the age of 16 will account for 35% of all deaths in Alholl camp in 2021, leaving 77 children to die.
Life in a Hopeless Camp
Children spending time in a harsh environment in the camp = June 7, 2021 (C) Florent Vergnes
“In the Alhoor camp, there are tragic stories of children dying and boys around the age of 11 being forcibly separated from their mothers, never to see them again, as a result of long delays in seeking emergency medical care. I’ve seen and heard a lot,” says Martinu Frokstra, MSF’s operations manager in Syria.
“Also, even when they do get to the hospital, they are often horrified. In the case of , family members and nurses are not allowed to accompany them.
The camp was originally created to provide safe temporary housing and humanitarian aid to civilians displaced by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. But since the deportation of people from Islamic
State-controlled territory in December 2018, the nature and purpose of the camps have strayed from their original purpose, becoming more dangerous, unsanitary, and de facto open-air prisons over the years. It is becoming
Most of the people living in the camps are children, many of whom were born here. They are robbed of their childhoods, exposed to violence and exploitation, without education, without medical assistance, and without hope.”
Put an end to the situation where you can’t see the end
Martine Frokstra adds further: “The Al Khor camp and other detention facilities and camps in northeast Syria continue to hold people from the coalition against the Islamic State and other countries, and they are not being repatriated. Such countries are responsible for delaying or refusing to deport, even depriving them of their citizenship and rendering them stateless, even though they are required to find a way to deal with it.
The Alhoor camp remains violent and dangerous, and despite more than three years since more than 50,000 people were moved there, there has been no move to close the camp. .
There is still no long-term alternative to end this arbitrary and indefinite detention. The longer people are confined in the Al Khor camp, the worse the situation becomes, exposing new generations to the risk of exploitation and the prospect of a childhood free from violence.”
Al Khor camp in numbers (excerpt from report)
● 64% of the Al Khor camp population are children and 50% are under the age of 12 years. There are also many reports of teenage boys being forcibly separated from their mothers and caregivers. It is not clear where the boys will be taken or how they will be treated.
● In 2021, 35% of those who died in Al Khor camp were children under the age of 16. Crime-related deaths were the leading cause of death, accounting for 38% of all deaths and 85 deaths.
●Currently, the total population of the camp is about 53,000, of which about 11,000 are foreigners, who are housed in a sectioned area within the camp called an “annex.”
● Nearly 60 countries are believed to have citizens in Alhoor and related detention camps, including the United Kingdom, Australia, China, Spain, France, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Sweden and Malaysia. Since October 2020, more than 1,300 Syrian families have received permission to leave Al Khor camp. But the waiting list is long and the process to get permission is opaque. Meanwhile, about 3,000 Iraqis returned to Iraq in August 2022.
Read the report “Between Two Fires: Danger and Desperation in Syria’s Al-Hol Camp” here
[Table 2: https://prtimes.jp/data/corp/4782/table/594_1_499973870e4d5a82d9e72145dca6d2e3.jpg ]
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32 thoughts on “Doctors Without Borders Syria: Danger and despair in ‘outdoor prison’ Al Khor camp”
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