HASAKA, Syria – The Kurdish-led militia on the rooftops engaged dozens of Islamic State fighters still held in a cramped prison in northeastern Syria on Thursday, defying claims announced by the US-backed militia a day earlier that they had regained full control of the entire complex.
The prison in the city of Hasaka is home to thousands of veterans of the Islamic State. Their warriors attacked a week ago in an attempt to free them. An official with one of the Kurdish-Syrian paramilitary groups that is fighting ISIS said 60 to 90 of the group’s fighters are still fighting from inside the partially destroyed prison complex, most in Some of them were attackers who broke into the prison but some inmates joined the force. with them.
The prison attack is the clearest evidence of a the rise of ISIS across parts of Syria and Iraq, three years after the group lost the last territorial position in their so-called caliphate across a wide swath of both countries. The extremists have also launched a series of attacks on military forces in neighboring Iraq in recent months.
The prison war has drawn US troops into the war with the support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which provide air strikes, intelligence and armored vehicles to attack. prison public. This is the biggest confrontation between US and ISIS forces since the end of the caliphate.
Fighting was also intense in the surrounding areas near the prison complex.
At a traffic roundabout a few hundred yards from the prison complex in central Hasaka, a group of The New York Times took cover along with a group of local journalists and civilians caught in the middle as force led The Kurds led the fight with ISIS fighters, who opened fire from a street near the prison.
Explosions from rocket grenades led by Kurdish forces fired into the prison and the sound of truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns rang out.
The SDF said two IS fighters were killed in the fighting near the traffic circle, but there were no reports of civilians being harmed in that clash.
A bulldozer emerged from the ruins of a cultural center next to the prison complex, carrying the crumpled body of an IS fighter before dumping it in the back of a pickup truck.
At another building behind the cultural center, which was hit by an airstrike, the SDF fighters withdrew the remains of two other ISIS fighters. A burned oil tanker across the street was still burning.
The SDF said the tanker and three others that burned next to it were destroyed in a US air strike.
Siyamend Ali, head of communications for the People’s Protection Units, one of the Kurdish factions in the SDF, said more than 3,000 detainees had surrendered and most had been taken to a new detention facility. built by the US-led coalition. Islamic State in Syria.
He said some of the IS fighters still inside the prison were believed to be foreign fighters.
“The attack on the prison triggered sleep cells elsewhere,” said Ali.
Sangar Khaleel contributed reporting.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/world/middleeast/syria-isis-prison.html US-backed forces clash with ISIS fighters at Syrian prison