U.S.-backed Kurdish militias have recaptured a prison in northeastern Syria from Islamic State after a week of heavy fighting.
On January 26, Siyamend Ali, head of the communications department of the Kurdish militia Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said they had taken control of al-Sina’a prison in the northeastern city of Hasakah. Syriaafter a week of fighting with fighters calling themselves the Islamic State (IS).
“This is one of the largest offensive operations by the Islamic State in the history of the Islamic State. The prisoners we interviewed said the attack was prepared and planned after six months,” Ali said.
Surprise over 100 IS fighters on Jan. 20 open attack Entry into al-Sina’a prison, run by the SDF, begins with two simultaneous suicide bombings aimed at freeing IS members held there.
The massive attack caught the Self-Defense Forces by surprise, and three years later IS was almost silent. The SDF said that while ISIS fighters attacked militias guarding outside, prisoners inside burned blankets and plastics, causing chaos.
The rebels then stormed the prison’s arsenal, released hundreds of members and took root in three buildings in the al-Sina’a complex to fend off SDF forces.
January 25 Pentagon Article American soldiers in Syria and M2 Bradley armored vehicles to assist the Self-Defense Forces to retake the prison. The U.S. military has established a secure border outside, providing fire support from strategic locations, while Kurdish militias have fought ISIS inside the prison.
The U.S.-led coalition has also used helicopter gunships to carry out airstrikes, deploy snipers from nearby buildings to provide fire support and destroy Islamic State fighters who have attacked Kurdish militia positions.
IS then gradually exited the prison. Fighting around the prison continued into the night of January 26, until IS fighters and prisoners surrendered. It is not clear how many prisoners escaped in IS jailbreaks.
A Pentagon official said no U.S. troops were killed in the operation. SDF spokesman Farhad Shami said 30 Kurdish militias and about 200 Islamic State fighters and prisoners were killed in the shootout.
A representative of the U.S.-led Operation Uprooting said the jailbreak “does not pose a significant threat to Iraq or the region” and that the coalition is assessing the risk of continued IS attacks on the al-January prison. Sina’a or other similar facilities in Syria and Iraq.
After being defeated in March 2019, the remnants of ISIS retreated to hide in the desert, occasionally attacking Kurdish forces and the Syrian government. Most of the attacks were small-scale, targeting military targets and oil and gas installations in remote areas.
Many fear Hasakah’s escape could mark a new stage in the resurgence of the Islamic State. However, Major General John W. Brennan, commander of Operation Uprooting, said that “IS’ capabilities are severely compromised and the group’s future viability depends on raids such as the raid on al-Sina’a prison”.
Nguyen Jin (follow CNN)