Newspaper La Jornada
Monday, January 24, 2022, p. 24

Hassake. At least 136 people, the vast majority combatants, were killed in four days of clashes that continued yesterday in Syria between the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish forces, triggered by the assault of the Islamists on a prison.

Thousands of civilians were displaced by the clashes near the Ghwayran prison, in the northeast of the country, one of the largest jihadist prisons in Syria, which is guarded by Kurdish forces.

In the assault on the prison launched on Thursday night by some 100 IS fighters to free their comrades, 84 jihadists and 45 Kurdish fighters were killed, as well as seven civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) said.

This attack is the largest since IS’s defeat in Syria in 2019 by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the US-led international anti-jihadist coalition.

The SDF said in a statement that the IS fighters were inside the prison compound and could no longer escape as their forces surrounded the area.

Thousands of jihadists are detained in the north and northeast of the country, territories partly controlled by the Kurdish authorities. But the IS has launched bloody attacks thanks to the support of its clandestine cells.

The prison, located in the city of Hassake, houses some 3,500 IS members, including the group’s leaders, according to this NGO, which has a wide network of sources in Syria.

The FDS indicated, however, that a group of jihadists locked themselves in a prison dormitory where hundreds of children are being held for their alleged links with IS.

Detained minors are used as human shields, denounced the FDS.

The clashes caused thousands of civilians to flee. In fact, while searching for the jihadists, the SDF urged the inhabitants through loudspeakers to leave the area.