UN worried about situation of civilians in Syria’s Al-Hasakah, after prisoners affiliated with ISIS escaped from prison
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: 25 January 2022
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, stressed that the situation of civilians in the city of Al-Hasakeh, northeastern Syria, is extremely worrying.
According to a statement published by the media office of the UN High Commissioner, IS fighters launched coordinated attacks on a prison in the city of Al-Hasakeh on January 20, enabling dozens of prisoners, many of them suspected ISIS members, to escape and sparking fighting between ISIS and the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), including in residential areas.
“We are particularly disturbed by reports that a significant number of boys, possibly several hundred, are held there and are extremely concerned for their safety and well-being, ”
In a letter to all parties to the conflict, as well as governments that have influence over the parties, the UN spokesperson indicated that international law requires them to do their utmost to protect civilians, including during the planning and implementation of military and security operations.
Shamdasani added that these recent developments in Al-Hasakeh highlight the desperate situation of thousands of detainees, including suspected IS members, across Syria, pointing out that they have previously warned of the dire and unsafe condition of detention centers run by the Syrian Democratic Forces, where the detainees are being held in overcrowded conditions, do not have access to proper medical care and cannot meet with their families.
The UN spokesperson expressed her deep concern about the situation of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis and “third country nationals” with presumed family ties to IS members, who are trapped in overcrowded displacement camps such as Al-Hol and Al-Roj in northeastern Syria. Shamdasani stressed that violence, including killings by unidentified perpetrators and dire living conditions affect camp residents. The High Commissioner required countries of origin to repatriate their nationals, particularly women and children, in accordance with their obligations under international law.