SDF say ISIS militants surrender after prison raid

ISIS suspects surrender as Syrian Democratic Forces raid Sina-Ghweran prison in Hasakah, January 24, 2022. (Photo: SDF Coordination and Military Operations Center)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Monday at least 300 ISIS militants surrendered after its forces raided part of a prison seized by the militants in northeastern Syria.

The Kurdish-led forces said militants were still holed up in other buildings, and plans were underway to clear the rest of the detention complex in Hasakah city, according to Reuters.

“The operations to break into the prison have begun,” one SDF source told Reuters.

Another said allies in a U.S.-led coalition were involved in the “ongoing operations” without elaborating.

At least 180 inmates and militants were killed and 27 security forces have died since ISIS militants attacked the jail on Thursday in a bid to free their members, officials have said.

The SDF initially said it had thwarted the breakout, but later acknowledged that inmates had taken over parts of the facility.

The United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) called late on Sunday for the evacuation of the nearly 850 children held in the complex with the militants and their families, saying their safety was at “immediate risk”, according to Reuters.

SDF officials declined to go into further details on their planned operation.

“Very sensitive developments are taking place regarding ending the mutiny of Daesh [the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State] mercenaries,” SDF spokesman Farhad Shami said in a tweet.

Residents said thousands of families had fled since security services raided the surrounding Ghweiran neighborhood to search for freed prisoners.

The jail is the largest among several publicly known ones where the SDF holds suspected militants and other detainees in what aids groups say are overcrowded and inhumane conditions.

The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch says the SDF holds a total of about 12,000 men and boys suspected of Islamic State affiliation, including 2,000 to 4,000 foreigners from almost 50 countries.

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