U.S. troops join assault on prison in northeast Syria  

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces patrolling Hasakah, Syria, January 25, 2022. (Photo: AP via New York Times)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The U.S. ground forces have joined the fight to retake control of a prison seized by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in northeast Syria, the Pentagon said on Monday.

ISIS militants attacked Sina-Ghweran prison in Hasakah on Thursday in an effort to free prisoners that include the group’s leaders.

At least 300 militants surrendered after its forces raided part of the prison, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a tweet on Monday.

At least 180 inmates and militants were killed and 27 security forces have died since ISIS militants attacked the jail.

The militants are holding hundreds of boys hostage inside the prison, according to New York Times.

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.

On Monday, the Pentagon said the U.S.-led Coalition forces had moved in armored Bradley fighting vehicles to back the SDF units.

New York Times cited a Coalition official as saying that the vehicles had been fired at and had returned fire.

“We have provided limited ground support, strategically positions to assist security in the area,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

U.S. military officials said the Bradley were being used as barricades while the SDF tightened its cordon around the prison, New York Times reported.

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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