SOHR: Syrian fighters search IS sleeper cells near prison
U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters searched near a Syrian prison of Islamic State group militants on Friday as dozens of armed extremists dug in a small part of the prison, a Kurdish official said.
About half a dozen IS fighters surrendered on Friday morning, among dozens of militants hiding in a basement in the north section of the prison, according to Siamand Ali, spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces backed by the Syrian Democratic Forces. United States.
He neither confirmed nor denied a report by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, that SDF fighters discovered the bodies of 18 of their comrades inside Gweiran prison, also known as al-Sinaa prison, in northeast Syria. Friday.
The Islamic State group’s attack on the prison on January 20 was the extremist group’s largest military operation since the fall of their self-proclaimed caliphate in 2019. It came as the militants staged deadly attacks in Syria and Iraq that have fueled fears that IS may stage a comeback.
The week-long assault on one of Syria’s largest detention centers has turned the city of Hassakeh into a conflict zone. The Kurdish-led administration declared a curfew and cordoned off the city, prohibiting all movement in and out.
Thousands of people in Hassakeh have been displaced in recent days due to fighting.
The SDF claimed on Wednesday it had regained full control of the prison – a week after dozens of militants stormed the facility. The attackers allowed some to escape but also took hostages, including detained children, and clashed with SDF fighters in violence that left dozens dead.
The SDF had said between 60 and 90 militants were hiding in the northern part of the prison.
Ali said the militants were in the basement of a two-story building and those who remained inside refused to surrender. “Our units are surrounding the building and trying to convince them to surrender,” he said.
The Observatory said SDF fighters are betting more time will force IS militants to surrender as their food dwindles.
The Hawar News Agency, ANHA, an online Kurdish news service, reported that several automatic rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade and hand grenades were confiscated from IS gunmen who surrendered on Friday . He added that SDF fighters were carrying out search operations in the prison as well as in several neighborhoods of Hassakeh in search of IS sleeper cells.
The SDF said around 3,000 inmates have surrendered since its operation to take over the north wing of the prison began three days ago.
At least 300 detained foreign children are believed to be held in the Gweiran facility. Thousands more, mostly under the age of 12, are being held with their mothers in closed camps in other parts of northeast Syria, suspected to be families of IS members. . Most countries have refused to repatriate them, with only 25 out of 60 countries retrieving their children, some without their mothers.
The Britain-based Observatory put the death toll in the struggle at more than 260, including more than 180 militants and more than 73 fighters from the Kurdish-led force. At least seven civilians were killed in the fighting, the Observatory said. The SDF said preliminary reports put 35 dead in the force.