Syrian battle between IS and Kurdish forces kills over 120 – Monitor – Channels Television
A fierce battle raged in Syria for a fourth day on Sunday between US-backed Kurdish forces and Islamic State group fighters who attacked a prison, killing at least 120 people including seven civilians, an official said. war watcher.
More than 100 insurgents attacked the Kurdish Ghwayran prison in the city of Hasakeh on Thursday evening to free other jihadists, in IS’s largest operation since the defeat of its self-declared caliphate in Syria there. almost three years old.
Intense fighting since then has seen militants release detainees and seize weapons stored in the prison, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in what experts see as a bold attempt by the ‘EI to regroup.
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“At least 77 IS members and 39 Kurdish fighters, including members of the internal security forces, prison guards and counter-terrorism forces, have been killed” inside and outside the prison since the start of the attack, the Observatory said.
At least seven civilians are among those who died in the fighting in the northeastern city, the monitor said.
Fighting continued for a fourth straight day on Sunday as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by coalition strikes, closed in on jihadist targets inside and outside Syria. ‘installation.
“Violent clashes erupted on Sunday night… as part of an ongoing attempt by Kurdish forces to restore control of the prison and neutralize IS fighters deployed in surrounding areas,” the statement said. Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.
“A Miracle We Achieved”
An AFP correspondent in the city’s Ghwayran neighborhood reported the sound of violent clashes in the immediate vicinity of the prison, which houses at least 3,500 suspected IS members.
The SDF deployed massively in the areas around the prison where they carried out search operations and used loudspeakers to call on civilians to leave the area, the correspondent said.
IS fighters are “entering houses and killing people”, said a civilian in his 30s who was fleeing on foot.
“It’s a miracle we made it,” he told AFP, carrying a baby wrapped in a woolen blanket.
“The situation is still very bad. After four days, violent clashes are still ongoing.
Hamsha Sweidan, 80, who had been trapped in her neighborhood near the prison, said civilians were left without bread or water as the battle raged.
“We are dying of hunger and thirst,” she told AFP as she drove through SDF-held areas in the city of Hasakeh. “Now we don’t know where to go.”
IS has carried out regular attacks on Kurdish and government targets in Syria since the rump of its once sprawling proto-state was overrun in March 2019.
Most of their guerrilla attacks have been directed against military targets and oil installations in remote areas, but the breakout from Hasakeh prison could mark a new phase in the group’s resurgence.
Weapons and captives
The Observatory said Kurdish forces managed to recapture more than 100 IS detainees who tried to escape, but many more remained at large. Their exact number remained unclear.
IS, in a statement published on its news agency Amaq overnight, claimed to have taken control of a weapons storage room in the prison and freed hundreds of other jihadists since the start of the war. operation by a double suicide bombing.
A video posted on Amaq claimed to show IS fighters carrying the group’s black flag as they launched the attack on the facility and surrounded what appeared to be a group of prison guards.
A second video released on Saturday showed nearly 25 men IS allegedly abducting in connection with the attack, some of them dressed in military fatigues.
AFP could not independently verify the authenticity of the images.
Commenting on the video, the SDF said the captives were “kitchen staff” from the prison.
“Our forces lost contact with them during the first attack,” he said in a statement, without giving further details.
Kurdish authorities have long warned that they lack the capacity to detain, let alone try, the thousands of IS fighters captured during years of operations.
According to Kurdish authorities, more than 50 nationalities are represented in a number of Kurdish-run prisons, where more than 12,000 IS suspects are currently being held.
Many countries of origin of IS prisoners have been reluctant to repatriate them, fearing a public backlash at home.