More than 330 dead after IS attack on Syrian prison

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US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers walk down a street with guns. © Baderhan Ahmad/AP/dpa

The attack was one of the heaviest IS attacks in Syria in years: the terrorist militia attacked a prison in Al-Hassaka. More than 330 people are said to have died.

Damascus – According to activists, 332 people have died in the attack by the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) on a prison in the Syrian city of Al-Hassakah.

A total of 246 jihadists and seven civilians have been killed since the fighting began, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday. Prison guards and fighters from the Kurdish-led Democratic Forces (SDF) who wanted to regain control of the prison were also among the dead. A week ago, the activists had counted around 130 dead.

IS fighters attacked the prison a week and a half ago to free thousands of their supporters who are being held there. According to the activists, dozens of people have been injured since then, some seriously. Tens of thousands of civilians fled the fighting in the north-east of the civil war country.

Terrorists holed up in prison

The attack was one of the heaviest IS attacks in Syria in years. US troops supported the fight against the extremists with airstrikes. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, SDF forces have regained control of the prison and the surrounding area. However, they continue to search the building and the area. Terrorists were still holed up in prison until the very end. According to the activists, there were also clashes between IS and troops led by Kurds on Saturday.

The US government thanked SDF forces for their efforts to bring the prison back under full control. Thanks to their courage and determination, the IS was not able to free imprisoned fighters on a large scale to strengthen the organization again, said US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan. The “barbaric behavior” of the IS fighters during the attack underscores the need for international cooperation to prevent the IS from gaining strength.

Hundreds of prisoners escaped

An IS statement shared on social media said more than 800 prisoners had escaped in the raid. According to the SDF, numerous prisoners are said to have been recaptured.

In the summer of 2014, the IS terrorist militia took over large areas in northern and western Iraq and proclaimed a so-called caliphate there. The extremists also ruled large parts of neighboring Syria. With military support from the United States and other countries, the Iraqi security forces pushed back the terrorist militia. In spring 2019, troops led by Kurds captured the last IS stronghold in Syria. Observers warn of a resurgence of the terrorist militia. dpa

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