Crime

Suspected ISIS prisoners escape north-east Syria jail

Syria

The escape of twelve inmates, suspected to be ISIS prisoners, follows a riot in the prison, which is run by Kurdish militia.

Up to a dozen ISIS prisoners have escaped from a central jail run by Kurdish militias in the north-eastern city of Hasakah after a riot.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said inmates partially seized control of the jail on Sunday and that those who fled are being pursued.

SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali described the situation inside the jail as “tense”.

The jail is located in the south of Hasakah. The Syrian regime maintains a significant security presence in the rural city and several of its official departments function normally.

SANA, the regime’s official news agency, said the US-led coalition illuminated overnight the prison area from the air to help trace the fugitives. The prison, SANA said, has 3,000 ISIS members as well incarcerated civilians.

SANA said 12 prisoners escaped, while the SDF said only that there were several.

The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG), which is closely linked to the Turkish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Washington regards the PKK as a terrorist organisation but it is backing the YPG militia

With tacit Syrian regime cooperation, the YPG sized control of large parts of northeastern Syria after the outbreak of the Syrian revolt against five decades of Assad family rule in 2011.

The takeover contributed a violent Arab backlash, with many joining militant groups that marketed themselves as bulwark against Kurdish militia expansion.

The YPG expanded its territory as it became the main ground component of the US-led war against ISIS in Syria.

The war resulted in ISIS losing virtually all of its territory in Syria in March 2019. But the group still mounts hit-and-run attacks against the Kurdish militia.

Human Rights Watch says the SDF has in detention 12,000 men and boys suspected of belonging to ISIS. Among them are 2,000 to 4,000 foreigners from almost 50 countries.

The inmates are often held in inhumane conditions, Human Rights Watch says. The Kurdish militia also oversees camps that house thousands of Syrian and foreign women and children who are family members of suspected militants.

Image: AFP

Article: The National