Cairo, Jan 23 (EFE).- Heavy clashes continued Sunday between Islamic State militants and Kurdish security forces after members of the terror organization managed to escape a prison in war-torn Syria, a monitoring group reported.
On Thursday, the IS attacked the Ghuwayran prison in the northeastern Syrian city of al-Hasakah in an operation aimed at freeing prisoners, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Some 800 inmates in the Kurdish-controlled area escaped from the jail on Thursday and Friday, the extremist group’s Amaq news agency said in a statement on Sunday.
The statement added that the prison escape came after imprisoned militants rioted to take over the prison, as well as a “large-scale, coordinated attack” on the facility that houses around 3,500 IS extremists.
The IS claimed more than 200 Kurdish forces, including the prison warden, were killed after the attack that started with suicide bombers detonating two car bombs at the prison gate.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), meanwhile, said that all those who fled were arrested over the weekend, adding that 17 from its forces and 34 IS militants were killed amid the assault.
The IS released a video Saturday night allegedly showing some 20 prison employees held inside the facility.
Shortly after, SDF spokesman Farhad Shami confirmed these were the prison’s kitchen staff and that his forces have lost contact with them during the attack.
The SOHR said Sunday that the SDF continued its efforts to gain back control of the prison, with the support of the US-led international coalition.
The British-based watchdog called it “the most violent and largest attack on populated areas since the elimination of ISIS (another IS acronym) as a controlling power in March 2019.”
Thousands of IS fighters and their families, including thousands of foreigners, remain in prisons or refugee camps run by Kurdish Syrians in the northeastern part of the country. EFE