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Syrian fighters backed by the United States have rescued tens of thousands of women and children following a weeks-long raid on a refugee camp in northern Syria.
Dozens of militants were subsequently detained and an undisclosed number of weapons were seized following the 24-day operation at al-Hol camp carried out by the Internal Security Forces and the U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
In total, approximately 50,000 Syrians and Iraqis lived in tents at the camp, including about 20,000 children. An additional 2,000 women lived in a separate annex of the camp along with 8,000 children. The women in the second group were from 57 different countries and are believed to be supporters of the terror group IS.
The camp was primarily being used by IS fighters for the recruitment and training of the next generation of fighters to form another Islamic State caliphate, according to the Internal Security Forces. The al-Hol camp is Syria’s largest refugee camp, the Washington Post reported.
“The operation was launched following the increasing crimes of killing and torture committed by ISIS cells against the camp residents,” said the U.S.-backed forces, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
“ISIS has depended mainly on women and children, as real resources related directly to the ISIS leaders, to maintain the ISIS extremist ideology and spread it in the camp,” the statement added.
Extremists at the camp killed 44 of its residents and humanitarian workers, they also said.
In 2019, the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East declared victory over the IS terror group, ending its caliphate rule across the Iraq-Syria border.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.