The head of the international Red Cross says a humanitarian emergency is unfolding in the camp in northeast Syria overwhelmed with people who fled the last battlefields of Islamic State extremists — and a top priority is helping hundreds of unaccompanied children return home.

Peter Maurer, who just returned from Syria, told a group of reporters Tuesday that the al-Hol camp in Hassakeh province now holds between 80,000 and 100,000 people and "everybody has been overwhelmed."

Maurer explained that Kurdish authorities who control the area separate Islamic State fighters and boys between the ages of 12 and 18 whom they view as likely fighters and put them in detention.

Women and children are sent to al-Hol, which is roughly two-thirds kids under age 12 and one-third mothers, he said.