Fighting continues near the prison in Syria attacked by the jihadist militia Islamic State (IS). According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Kurdish-dominated military alliance Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fought battles with IS fighters near the city of Al-Hasakah on Saturday. Riyad Dirar, co-president of the Syrian Democratic Council, is urging support in dealing with the region’s thousands of ISIS prisoners.
After days of fighting, the SDF announced on Wednesday that they had regained control of the detention center in the northern Syrian city of Al-Hasakah. However, around 60 to 90 fighters would still be holed up in the basement and on the ground floor of the Ghwajran prison complex.
More than 260 people died in the fighting that followed the January 20 attack. According to the observatory, whose information can hardly be verified independently, around 180 IS fighters, 73 Kurdish fighters and seven civilians were killed. On Saturday, an AFP reporter observed a bulldozer shoveling the bodies of suspected IS fighters onto a truck.
Biggest Attacks Since Caliphate
On January 20, more than a hundred IS fighters launched their attack on the Kurdish-managed Ghuwayran prison in order to free prisoners. According to the observatory, around 3,500 suspected IS fighters have been held in the detention center, including leaders of the militia. It was unclear how many inmates managed to escape after the prison was stormed.
Days of fighting broke out between IS and Kurdish security forces backed by the US-led anti-IS coalition after the attack. According to the UN, 45,000 people fled al-Hasakah because of the fighting.
According to the observatory, it was the largest attack of this kind since the IS “caliphate” was crushed in 2019. At that time, IS was largely defeated militarily in Syria and Iraq.