Children among three dead in fire at Syria's Al-Hol camp

Qamishli (Syria) (AFP) –


Two Syrian children and a woman died Saturday and around 30 people were in hospital after a fire at the Al-Hol displacement camp in northeastern Syria, a local official said.

The fire started after a stove exploded while displaced Syrians were celebrating a wedding, according to Sheikhmous Ahmed, an official in the semi-autonomous Kurdish administration.

"Three people are dead -- two children and a women," he told an AFP correspondent in the northeastern city of Qamishli by telephone.

Around 30 other people suffering burns have been hospitalised, including two who are in critical condition, he said.

The camp, run by Kurdish forces, is the largest in Syria and holds almost 62,000 people, of whom more than 90 percent are women and children, according to the United Nations.

Most are Iraqis and Syrians who largely fled fighting between the Islamic State group and Kurdish forces, but the camp also hosts a separate annex for thousands of foreign women and children accused of family ties with IS.

NGOs have sounded the alarm over dire conditions in Al-Hol and the lack of medical care.

A UN expert said earlier this month that people in the camp were living in "horrific sub-human conditions".

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Al-Hol was home to more than 31,000 children aged under 12.

"The recent increase in violent events at the camp underscores that the camp is no place for any child to grow up," it said in a statement this month.