Two children die every week in north-east Syria's Al-Hawl detention camp, a charity has revealed.
According to a report by the UK-based charity Save the Children, at least 62 children have died so far this year from violence, disease and accidents at the Kurdish-run camp. A total of 73 people, including two children, have been murdered in the Al-Hawl camp so far this year, it added.
In a statement, the charity lamented that "Many of the world's richest countries have failed to bring home the majority of their children stuck in" the Al-Hawl and Roj camps in north-east Syria, which hold the families of suspected Daesh fighters.
The charity stated that 40,000 children from 60 different countries have been living in dire conditions in the camps – run by the Kurdish militias the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) – over the past few years since the territorial defeat of Daesh.
Many of their countries have been reluctant to repatriate them due to the national security threats they would allegedly pose. Human rights organisations have urged countries to at least repatriate their child nationals due to concerns for their safety and the risk of radicalisation.
According to Save the Children, France has only repatriated 35 of its 320 child nationals in both of the camps, while the United Kingdom has repatriated four of the 60 minors.
Sonia Khush, the director of Save the Children's Syria response, stressed: "What we are seeing here is governments simply abandoning children, who are first and foremost victims of conflict." She also revealed that European and Western nations have been the most resistant to repatriation, with 83 per cent of repatriation operations having been conducted by Uzbekistan, Kosovo, Kazakhstan and Russia.