Fighting ongoing in Hassakeh as SDF raids ISIL hideouts - It's Over 9000!

Fighting ongoing in Hassakeh as SDF raids ISIL hideouts


Clashes between Kurdish-led forces and ISIL (ISIS) fighters who assaulted a prison complex in northeast Syria are ongoing, despite prior announcements that the attack had been quelled.

Battles broke out anew on Saturday in the vicinity of the prison between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and members of ISIL who were hiding in the area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

According to the UK-based war monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria, four ISIL fighters took a local official and three civilians hostage for hours, holding them in a residential building near the prison. Kurdish forces later freed the hostages and killed three ISIL gunmen.

Assailants broke into the sprawling Ghwayran prison complex near the city of Hassakeh on January 20, sparking days of heavy fighting that killed 270 people.

The SDF announced that it had recaptured the prison on Wednesday, but “mop-up operations” continued. About 3,500 ISIL members surrendered, but others barricaded themselves inside the prison.

ISIL gunmen are in “cellars that are difficult to target with air strikes or infiltrate”, the Syrian Observatory said. SDF officials estimate between 60 and 90 ISIL fighters are still in the basement and the ground floor above it.

Twenty surrendered on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory said, adding that the SDF killed another five in an exchange of fire inside the prison.

Kurdish forces have repeatedly called for ISIL gunmen to surrender. “Our forces have not used force with them so far,” Farhad Shami, who heads the SDF’s media office, told the AFP news agency.

The violence prompted 45,000 people to flee Hassakeh, the UN said. Many took refuge in relatives’ homes, while hundreds more have slept in the city’s mosques and wedding halls.

The SDF has called on the UN to urge countries that have ISIL nationals detained in Syria to “accelerate the pace of their repatriation” – primarily children and women.

UN Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov told the Security Council on Thursday the deadly prison siege underscored the need to deal with those allegedly linked to the armed group in prisons and camps in Syria’s northeast.

ISIL lost its last patch of territory near Baghouz in eastern Syria in March 2019. Since that time, it largely went underground and waged a low-level battle, including roadside bombings, assassinations, and hit-and-run attacks mostly targeting security forces.

Source: AlJazeera 

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