New York [US], January 30 (ANI/Sputnik): UN Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov said on Friday that some 27,000 children remain stranded in the Al-Hawl refugee camp in northeastern Syria, despite the efforts undertaken over the past years to repatriate them.
"The first efforts to repatriate children from Al-Hawl date back to 2017. Four years later, 27,000 remain stranded, abandoned to their fate, left to the probation of ISIL," Voronkov said during an informal meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday.
The diplomat described the conditions in the Al-Hawl as "horrific," adding that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the repatriation of children is among the "most pressing" issues in the world.
Voronkov explained that along with other camps in northeastern Syria, Al-Hawl is in particular in harm's way - deprived of basic support, vulnerable to the probations of the Islamic State enforcers, and at risk of radicalization.
He further noted that refugee camps across northeastern Syrian and Iraq shelter children from 60 states, and it is the responsibility of their countries of origin to repatriate them.
"I urge all member states to fulfill their responsibilities and to ensure the protection and voluntary repatriation of their children," Voronkov stated. (ANI/Sputnik)