SOHR: Civilians flee parts of Syria's Hasakah as IS militants escape Kurdish-controlled prison • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

SOHR: Civilians flee parts of Syria’s Hasakah as IS militants escape Kurdish-controlled prison

Many civilians fled their homes in the Gweiran neighborhood of northeast Syria’s Hasakah province on Friday amid the violence and chaos that erupted in the area following an escape of Islamic State (IS) militants from a Kurdish-controlled prison, according to eyewitnesses and state news agency SANA.

Following the jailbreak of IS militants from the Sina’a prison on Thursday in the Gweiran neighborhood of Hasakah, violent clashes erupted between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the IS militants.

The ongoing clashes and chaos accelerated people in the Gweiran neighborhood and surrounding areas to flee their homes, particularly after the U.S.-led warplanes struck the surroundings of the prison in their manhunt for IS escapees.

Saying the IS militants who had fled the prison are positioning in nearby buildings, SANA noted that the SDF has so far failed to contain the situation despite the assistance of U.S.-led warplanes.

Ali Alwatf, a resident of the neighborhood, told Xinhua that they had heard powerful explosions and clashes.

At first, it was deemed as usual small-scale explosions as they used to hear in the area, he said, noting that the situation had escalated sharply, as clashes and airstrikes continued amid the escape of IS militants from prison.

“We heard a powerful explosion so we opened the windows and doors at home. Later, intermittent clashes erupted, which we thought were as usual, but the situation escalated and violent clashes took place. The children didn’t sleep at night so we decided to leave in the morning and get the children away from the horror and fear,” Alwatf said.

The airstrikes struck residential buildings in the area after the IS militants managed to break out from prison, Basma Um Muhammad, a woman from the same neighborhood, told Xinhua, adding that dead bodies of people were tossed in the streets, compelling her and others to leave.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 80 IS militants had fled the prison, where the number of IS militants was estimated at around 3,500.

The UK-based watchdog said the SDF is still trying to control the situation while the chaos inside the prison is continuing. Clashes are taking place between IS and the SDF in the vicinity of the facility.

The observatory stated that violence and clashes in and around the prison killed 70 people, more than half were IS militants, who have repeatedly tried to break from the prison in Hasakah.

Many IS militants have been imprisoned by the SDF following the defeat of IS in Hasakah and parts of Deir al-Zour province in eastern Syria.




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