Save the Children has called on more countries to bring home their women and children stranded in camps in North East Syria after France repatriated 32 children and 15 women, the majority reportedly from Roj Camp.
This is France’s fourth repatriation mission in the past seven months from camps in NE Syria housing people displaced after the defeat of ISIS. This brings the total number of French nationals repatriated to 109 children and 47 women. The total number of foreign nationals repatriated since 2019 is about 1,530 children and women.
Earlier this month, 336 Iraqi children returned from Al Hol camp to Iraq as part of a group of 586 people. Also, Spain and Barbados repatriated 18 children and women this month.
Matt Sugrue, Director of Program Operations for Save the Children Syria, said:
”This is welcome news, building on the increased repatriation efforts we saw last year from different countries. But let us not forget that there still many thousands of Iraqi and Syrian children waiting for a similar opportunity to a safe life outside of the camps, in addition to almost 7,000 foreign children. The governments of the countries responsible for them literally hold the fate of these children in their hands. More needs to be done to bring children home as soon as possible.
“We cannot reiterate enough that no child should grow up in camps and that every extra day they have to spend there poses further risks for children. Only yesterday, a 7-year-old child from Tajikistan was injured after being run over by a truck in the Annex of Al Hol Camp, and this child is currently in an Intensive Care Unit. No child should live in such fear for their lives.”
Save the Children has been working in Syria since 2012, reaching over five million people, including more than three million children across the country and provides protection and support services in Al Hol including child friendly spaces. Save the Children also provides specialised case management support for children with particular needs as well as nutrition and education services.