US Commander warned on Wednesday that Certain Elements of Islamic State are trying to rebuild in Western Syria where the US is trying to maintain its slight presence.
“In the region west of the Euphrates River where the Syrian regime is in control, conditions are as bad or worse than they were leading up to the rise of the Islamic State”, said Gen. Frank McKenzie.
While speaking to The United States Institute of Peace from his U.S. Central Command office in Tampa, Mr. McKenzie said, “We should all be concerned about that,”
He further added, “slow-moving effort to transfer people out of Syrian refugee camps has been further complicated and delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Fuels concerns about the radicalization of people, particularly the youth in the camps, which officials worry are breeding grounds for IS insurgents.”
The al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria is home to as many as 70,000 people — mostly women and children — who were displaced by the ongoing civil war in Syria and the battle against IS.
There are reports that Al-Hol has reported a few Covid-19 cases.
Leanne Erdberg Steadman, the USIP director for countering violent extremism, suugests, Getting people out of the camps is key. To abandon violence and secure a new future.
“Repatriation is the key to clearing out the refugee camps. The U.S. has aggressively pushed to get allies to take their own citizens back. Most nations, however, are reluctant to take in potential IS insurgents. And the potential spread of COVID-19 is now an added fear,” Mr. McKenzie added.
He also showed concern and suggested that political leaders find a way to deradicalize displaced people in the camps. There will be another IS resurgence in the future.
“As young people grow up, we’re going to see them again unless we can turn them in a way to make them productive members of society,” he said. “We can either deal with this problem now or deal with it exponentially worse a few years down the road.”