BEIRUT: The UN children’s agency called on Sunday for all minors held in displacement camps or jails in northeast Syria to be allowed home.

The Unicef made its plea a day after three children died in a fire at the overcrowded camp of Al Hol for people displaced in the fight against the militant Islamic State group.

After years of leading the US-backed fight against IS, Syria’s Kurds hold thousands of alleged jihadist fighters in jails and tens of thousands of their family members in camps in northeast Syria.

They hail from Syria, neighbouring Iraq and dozens of other foreign countries. Many are children.

“In the northeast of Syria, there are more than 22,000 foreign children from at least 60 nationalities who languish in camps and prisons, in addition to many thousands of Syrian children,” UNICEF regional director Ted Chaiban said.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2021

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