Kurdish forces retake prison from Islamic State after six-day siege | Syria

As much as 2,000 Islamic State inmates who had overrun a Syrian prison have surrendered to their Kurdish captors, ending a six-day siege that marked the fear group’s most dramatic stand for the reason that collapse of its so referred to as caliphate practically three years in the past.

The peaceable finale to the standoff on Wednesday was at odds with its bloody beginnings when as much as 100 extremists tried to storm the ability within the northern metropolis of Hasakah and free these jailed inside. The raid on Thursday evening, which was led by two suicide bombers, led to days of intense clashes, which claimed the lives of near 40 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces and about 30 jihadists, and compelled greater than 50,000 civilians to flee.

It additionally drew consideration to the destiny of as much as 700 boys and youths, who had been saved in a wing of the prison. Their situation was not initially clear, however there have been no stories of additional violence or deaths after alarm was raised for his or her security on Monday after a number of practically US airstrikes and intensive gunfire.

IS members are rounded up in Ghwayran prison in Hassakeh, northeastern Syria. {Photograph}: Ahmed Mardnli/EPA


Forward of the give up, international concern had continued to mount. “These kids ought to by no means have been held in army detention within the first place,” stated Unicef govt director, Henrietta Fore. “The violence they’re subjected to might quantity to conflict crimes.”

The UN stated a lot of the kids within the prison had been Syrian and Iraqis, lots of them orphans. Nevertheless, the remaining had been made up of 20 different nationalities and their continued incarceration as soon as once more raised calls for that they be repatriated. “None of them has been charged with any crime beneath nationwide or worldwide regulation,” stated Fore. “The youngsters of international nationals have obtained little to no help from their residence nations.”

After the give up, the SDF posted images of rows of males standing exterior the partitions of the prison, many dressed within the distinctive orange overalls worn by alleged terrorists in prisons on either side of the Euphrates.

In Hasakah, there was widespread aid amongst locals who had initially feared that the storming of the prison had freed lots of of extremists


“Now they’re saying that it’s over, we hope that is the tip so we are able to begin our regular life once more,” stated Fawaz al Aswad, 35, from the Azizia space. “Throughout this previous week we weren’t afraid of gunfire however we had been afraid of Isis sleeper cells. Nobody acquired harm from my household, however certainly one of my neighbours died. He was an SDF fighter.”

A Syrian girl stands by a tent at a camp for displaced people.A Syrian lady stands by a tent at a camp for displaced folks. {Photograph}: Rami Al Sayed/AFP/Getty Pictures

“We might hear gunfire on a regular basis,” stated Hala Muhammed, 31. “We had been very afraid. If all nations have taken their Isis fighter(s) again now this might not occur. Nevertheless it appears they need Isis to stay right here in the meanwhile.”

In the meantime, in north-western Syria a disturbance of a distinct type – a savage winter storm – continues to trigger disruption, with heavy snow and robust winds damaging hundreds of tents utilized by the greater than 1.5 million refugees within the province. NGOs have stepped up campaigns for funding for blankets and heating because the storm that introduced deep snow to Istanbul and plunging temperatures from northern Iraq to Gaza continued to rage.


The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) stated that no less than 545 tents have been reported destroyed and 9,125 tents damaged by snowfall, floods and winds. “The snow, freezing rain, and sub-zero temperatures are particularly dangerous to kids, the aged, and other people with disabilities residing in flimsy tents with out insulation, enough winter clothes, and warmth,” it stated in an announcement.

One group of support employees, the Molham Crew, lately raised greater than $1m in lower than two days to re-house 250 households in Syria’s north-west from tents into homes. The attraction, with the Twitter hashtag #untilthelasttent, initially aimed to lift $500,000 and assist 100 households, however double that quantity was donated, and the group was capable of rehouse the whole camp.

Further reporting by Nechirvan Mando

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