After years of tough displacement at a refugee camp run by the Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria, displaced people are happy now that they are able to leave the camp and return to their homes.
Khawla Ahmad, a 40-year-old woman, is among a batch of around 500 people that were ready to leave the al-Hol camp in the countryside of the Hasakah province and return to their home in the nearby eastern province of Deir al-Zour.
The woman told Xinhua that her agony and pain will soon be over as the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has started emptying the camp of its residents, particularly the Syrians who want to return to their areas.
“We have been suffering here for four years and we lack everything,” the woman said.
She will head back home. “If we found our home that would be good, while if not, we will build a new home of stone and mud. We can do anything as long as we don’t have to pay because we have no money.”
Other people in the camp were busy packing their belongings to leave the camp, where they suffered from the lack of all life necessities.
The SDF set up a room inside the camp for those people who want to leave to register their names. The room was jam-packed with people submitting their information in order to leave the camp.
Fatima Kassar, who is originally from the town of Tayaneh in Deir al-Zour, told Xinhua that she cannot believe she is going back home and see her neighborhood again.
For his side, Jassam Shalash, a 60-year-old man, said that his house has been damaged and half of it was completely destroyed. However, he is still happy to return to his home and land.
A public relations employee at the camp told Xinhua that the people who are leaving the camp will go to their original areas that are controlled by the SDF.
“The fifth batch is for families from the Deir al-Zour province, which are around 515 people, making 120 families, who will return to their areas in Deir al-Zour,” he said.
The al-Hol camp, precisely located on the southern outskirts of the al-Hol town in Hasakah countryside, was originally established for Iraqi refugees in early 1991 during the Gulf war, and was later reopened after the 2003 invasion of Iraq as one of three camps at the Iraqi-Syrian border.
At the beginning of 2019, the camp held about 10,000 people. Its size increased dramatically with the collapse of the Islamic State (IS) during battles with the SDF in northeastern Syria. By April 2019, the camp’s population was estimated at around 74,000.