The Kurdish Internal Security Forces (Asayish) in North and East Syria, on Saturday announced the end of a three-week operation against Islamic State (ISIS) cells in al-Hol camp near Hasakah city.
The first phase of ‘Operation Humanity and Security’ started in 2021 in response to calls from community and tribal leaders to reduce crime at the camp, which is home to more than 55,000 people, mostly ISIS-affiliated women and children of different nationalities.
Some 226 people including 36 women have been arrested over terrorism related charges and other criminal activities, the Kurdish authorities said at the end of the second phase of the operation, launched on 25 August. Kurdish forces have also uncovered 25 tunnels and trenches.
“Over the past period, the operation has been delayed due to Turkish threats and attacks. Because our forces were preoccupied with defending the region and its population against those attacks, the threats ISIS poses have increased significantly,” Asayish General Command said in its statement.
Turkey has in recent months intensified its attacks against Kurdish targets in northeast Syria, which Ankara claims pose a threat to its national security.
The Kurdish authorities have also pointed to links between ISIS cells and Turkish intelligence in their statement.
“The investigations into the arrested terrorists confirmed the close relationship between the Turkish occupation and those cells, especially in the areas of terrorist activities, the smuggling of terrorists and their families into the Turkish-occupied areas for rehabilitation and use in potential Turkish invasions against our regions, as happened at the Ain Issa camp, and the smuggling of ISIS families by Turkey,” the general command carrying out the operation said.
Turkish forces and affiliated Syrian rebel groups have seized control of several areas in northern Syria, including Afrin and Tel Abyad, as a result of a series of military incursions since 2016. Ankara has been signalling plans to launch a new incursion in order to realise its intention to establish a 30-km deep buffer zone in northern Syria.