Spain has brought home 13 children and two women from the unsafe, unsanitary Roj camp in North- East Syria, Save the Children said today - the first repatriation from the camps so far this year.
Save the Children applauded the move – as this is the first time the Spanish government has repatriated nationals from either Roj or Al Hol – but urged Spain to urgently bring home the four children and one woman still left in the campi. Other states must also follow suit and repatriate the thousands of children still stuck there, the child rights organisation added.
Matt Sugrue, Director of Programme Operations for Save the Children in Syria, said:
"This will be such a relief and marks a very positive start to the year for these children. They now get to leave the camps behind and look forward to a better future. The remaining 7,000 children still lingering in the camps deserve the same. Efforts must be stepped up to urgently repatriate each and every one of them."
Conditions in both camps continue to be dire, with winter seeing children forced to sleep in tents in zero- degree temperatures, as well as the heightened risks of fires spreading as people struggle to stay warm.
Last year, a record 517 children and women were repatriated from Al Hol and Roj camp by 12 countries representing a 60% increase compared to 2021 and 84% from 2020, Save the Children said.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
Save the Children provides protection and support services in Al Hol and Roj camp, including child-friendly spaces. This includes recreational activities, such as sport, music, art, and storytelling, combined with psychosocial support. Save the Children also provides specialised case management support for children with particular needs as well as nutrition and education services.