Beirut, Jan 25 (EFE).- The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Tuesday that they were closer to crushing a rebellion inside a prison in the northeastern city of al-Hasakah holding Islamic State militants who rose up last week in conjunction with an external attack on the facility by their comrades.
“Our SDF controlled a block of buildings consisting of eight dormitories inside the al-Sina’a prison, al-Hasakah. The sweep operation is ongoing,” the force said in a statement.
Another 250 mutinous inmates surrendered Tuesday, bringing to 550 the total number of ISIS militants subdued since Jan. 20, the SDF said.
The SDF said that while it doesn’t know how many of the roughly 3,500 ISIS men held at the prison managed to flee, at least 700 of them remain inside al-Sina’a and are being used by the leaders of the mutiny as human shields.
The detonation late last Thursday of an explosives-laden vehicle near al-Sina’a was apparently a signal to the inmates to rise up against their jailers and make a break for it as ISIS gunmen outside opened fire on SDF security personnel.
Some of the ISIS fighters who took part in the initial assault on the prison subsequently occupied buildings in al-Hasakah and continued firing on SDF troops.
The SDF says that more than 220 people have died in the violence following the Jan. 20 assault, while the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates the death toll at 166.
Some 45,000 al-Hasakah residents have fled their homes during the last five days, according to the United Nations. EFE njd/dr