Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve officials hosted representatives and aides from several Coalition country embassies here June 27, 2022, to discuss the need for international action to address growing security concerns related to displaced person camps in North East Syria and ongoing repatriation efforts.
The event brought together representatives from Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
French Air Force Brig. Gen. Vincent Coste, the director of CJTF-OIR’s Directorate of Interagency and Civil Environment, led the discussion about displaced person camps and repatriation from the CJTF-OIR perspective.
“We advise focusing on repatriating the children in the camps to keep them from turning to the ideology which ISIS spreads,” Coste said. “Rising populations in camps like Al-Hol in Syria are potential breeding grounds for ISIS recruitment and are a long-term threat to the security and stability that Coalition and partner forces are working to achieve,” he added.
Ongoing efforts by the Government of Iraq to repatriate its citizens were a focus for discussion, with almost 2,500 having returned from Al Hol camp to Iraq’s Jeddah 1 Rehabilitation Center since 2021. DICE members highlighted this example and further stressed the need to also continue the return of Syrians and the repatriation of other foreign nationals from camps in North East Syria to ensure an enduring solution.
That solution must be global, not just for Iraq and North East Syria; and it must include the communities to which people will return, DICE officials emphasized. These communities must be able to accept the return of displaced people so that both the communities and returning people are able to thrive.
“We need to give people hope and for their communities to accept them,” said Coste.
The meeting hosts noted that solving these problems will require collective action from the global community, non-governmental organizations operating in the region and local authorities.
DICE officials thanked the embassy representatives for the work of their respective governments and emphasized a desire for continued discussions, collaboration, and further action on displaced persons and repatriation.