Hundreds vaccinated in Syria's Al-Hol camp

Hundreds vaccinated in Syria's Al-Hol camp
2 min read
24 June, 2021
Syrian authorities said hundreds of displaced people have now been vaccinated at the Al-Hol Camp in the northeast of the country.
Thousands of displaced people live in Al-Hol [Getty]

More than 200 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in northeast Syria's densely-populated Al-Hol camp for the displaced and families of defeated jihadists, a government official said on Thursday.

The vaccination drive, using AstraZeneca jabs under the Covax programme for low-income parts of the world, covers government-held areas and territory run by a Kurdish local administration.

Syrian health ministry teams had inoculated 205 people up until Wednesday in Al-Hol camp of Hasakeh province, the ministry's provincial chief Issa al-Khalaf told AFP.

The camp houses about 62,000 people, mainly women and children, including tens of thousands of family members of foreign Islamic State group fighters.

Read also: Australian women, children 'abducted' from Syria refugee camp: reports

According to medical sources inside the camp, foreign wives of suspected fighters were being excluded from the vaccination drive, a charge denied by Khalaf.

Syria's health ministry in April received a first consignment of 203,000 doses of AstraZeneca through Covax, according to the World Health Organisation.

Almost 7,000 people have so far been inoculated in the Kurdish-held areas, in a campaign launched a month ago, local health chief Jawan Moustafa said.

The areas of northeast Syria under Kurdish control, where medical shortages are rife, have recorded over 18,000 cases of coronavirus, including 761 deaths.

Humanitarian aid groups and UN officials have for years reiterated concerns about the safety of tens of thousands of displaced people still languishing in the Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria.

Conditions in the camp remain "difficult by any measure", Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General said in October, highlighting that "humanitarians have expressed alarm at the deteriorating security situation in the camp following a rise in violent incidents”.

In 2019, UN-appointed investigators reported "appalling" and "inhumane" conditions in the camp, and urged the international community protect the camp's thousands of children from being left stateless.