TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Tempo Magazine’s exclusive report on the ISIS camps in North of Syria entitled “Misery in a Foreign Land” (Nestapa di Negeri Syam) published in the June 17-23 edition became central in a trilateral meeting between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
“That report attracted the interests of participants from three countries,” said Sidney Jones, Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) Director in Makati, Philippines, on Tuesday.
According to Sidney, similar to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines are eyeing to bring home their citizens who are now living in the Syrian refugee camp as they are unable to directly access the refugee camps.
Sidney said that the Tempo journalist who wrote the report, Hussein Abri Dongoran, was invited to be one of the speakers in the trilateral meeting in hopes Hussein would be able to enlighten the meeting’s participants on how to access the al-Hawl refugee camp and inmates jailed at Derik in Al-Malikiyah.
“That can explain how to enter Rojava and meet the refugees and inmates,” said Sidney.
Rojava refers to an area in the Northern part of Syria controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that does not acknowledge the Syrian government under the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
In the meeting, Hussein elaborated the challenges he dealt with and the complexity to obtain access into the refugee camps and eventually meet the Indonesian prisoners, which he said spent almost one month.
“It took nearly a month to get access to the heart of ISIS,” said Hussein Abri Dongoran. “It is an unforgettable experience.”
Hussein spent eight days at Rojava upon writing his Tempo exclusive piece. He recalls there are at least 200 Indonesians currently at the Al-Hawl refugee camp that comprise of women and children. Those associated with ISIS are imprisoned by the SDF.