Thursday, September 21

Clashes near Syrian prison attacked by IS

Several clashes broke out this Saturday between Kurdish forces and members of the Islamic State (IS) group near a prison in northeastern Syria, where jihadists remain entrenched, a Syrian NGO reported.

Dozens of IS fighters launched an assault on Ghwayran jail in Hassake, a Kurdish-held area, on January 20 to free prisoners.

The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), one of the pillars in the fight against jihadists in Syria, declared on Wednesday that they had regained control of the prison, after six days of violent fighting.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) reported on Saturday “clashes around the prison between the SDF and the Kurdish Internal Security Forces (ISF) on the one hand and members of IS on the other” who were hiding in the neighborhoods near the prison.

According to the NGO, four jihadists are holding a local official and three civilians as hostages in a building in the Ghwayran neighborhood.

The SDF and ISF have surrounded the prison, supported by US forces. And snipers are stationed on the roofs of neighboring buildings, an AFP journalist reported.

According to this same source, sporadic shots can be heard in the sector.

Although Kurdish forces have retaken control of the prison and many jihadists have surrendered or been arrested, IS members remain in the area.

The OSDH points out that dozens of them are in the northern part of the prison, an area “difficult to reach from the air or to access by land.”

SDF spokesman Farhad Shami warned that if they did not surrender, the Kurdish forces would resort to a “military” solution.

The IS assault, considered the most important since its defeat three years ago, has caused more than 260 deaths since June 20: 180 jihadists, 73 Kurdish fighters and policemen and seven civilians, according to the SOHR.

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