ISIS kills 37 refugees and IDPs in Hasakah in attack from Iraqi border

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Mosul refugees on the Syrian-Iraqi border. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

The Islamic State group (ISIS) on Tuesday killed over 37 refugees in a massacre at the Rajam Sleiby border crossing in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province, attacking it from the Iraqi side of the border, senior officials told ARA News.

Abdulkarim Omer, the head of foreign relations at the Cezire [Hasakah] Canton in Syria’s Kurdish region-Rojava, told ARA News that at least 37 civilians were killed in the ISIS-led attack.

“The Rajam Sleiby area is being used by Iraqi refugees and Deir ez-Zor IDPs to enter the Rojava territory. This morning the area was attacked by ISIS and until now 37 have been killed and dozens injured,” he said.

The IDPs and refugees were waiting to go to the refugee camp of al-Hawl, in the southeast of the Hasakah province.

The management of the camp in an interview with ARA News said that ISIS attacked the fleeing civilians from the Iraqi border and that the injured civilians were transported to the National Hospital and the Hekme Hospital Hasakah.

Medical staff at the National Hospital told ARA News that one Iraqi refugee died from his injury, and that others need several types of blood, calling on civilians to donate blood.

“We are appalled and saddened to hear of the attacks today in Hasakeh province. Rajam Sleiby is a border crossing frequently used by Iraqi and Syrian civilians seeking safety,” said Thomas Garofalo, Regional Advocacy Adviser at the International Rescue Committee.

“According to our staff several children were among the dead and the wounded are still being transported from the border directly to the hospital in al Hasakeh city,” he said.

According to Garofalo, attacks like this only serve to show just how vulnerable civilians are in this fighting.

Since October, thousands of people from Mosul have traveled west to this border crossing and to al-Hawl camp close by, often via smugglers. Syrians from Deir ez-Zor are also using this route.

Al-Hawl camp is currently host to almost 17,000 people, the majority are Iraqi refugees but more than 1,000 are Syrians displaced by the ongoing conflict.

“The international community must work to ensure all sides of the conflict are held to account for these types of attacks that stand in breach of international law,” the IRC official said.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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