ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have regained control of a prison holding ISIS militants in Hasaka after fresh riots were launched this weekend.
ISIS detainees at Sanaa prison, in Hasaka’s Geweran neighbourhood reportedly began rioting on Saturday.
The SDF- who run the prison- said on Sunday evening that they are in full control of the facility following “negotiations” between the SDF and coalition forces on one hand, and prisoners on the other.
“Yesterday evening, inside one of the largest prisons in which ISIS militants are staying in Al-Hasakeh province, the ISIS detainees held a large-scale riot operation,” SDF spokesperson Kino Gabriel said in Sunday statement.
“The ISIS detainees completely took control of the prison inside after they removed the doors of the dormitories and corridors, which required the intervention of special forces and counter terrorism forces to stop them,” Gabriel said.
The US-led coalition provided support to the SDF, Gabriel added.
“The illegal coalition aircraft are flying over the area where the prison is located in conjunction with continued insubordination,” Syrian state media outlet SANA reported on Sunday evening.
The prison has seen several disturbances in recent months, with two riots taking place in March.
Somewhere between 3,000-5000 prisoners from around 50 nationalities are held in the prison, most of whom were detained by Kurdish and coalition forces in the last ISIS stronghold of Baghouz in March 2019.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) confirmed the incident, reporting that coalition jets “fired flares” over the facility.
Kurdish forces have repeatedly called on the international community to take responsibility for foreign ISIS militants held in SDF-run prisons, as well as their families housed in nearby camps.
“We believe that the international coalition forces and the international community have a responsibility to find a solution to the issue of detained ISIS members, provide more support for greater security measures, and improve the conditions of detainees inside prisons in northern and eastern Syria,” Gabriel added.
ISIS controlled swathes of Syria in 2014, but with the support of the Global Coalition against ISIS the SDF was able to regain control of Baghouz, the militants’ last bastion in Deir ez-Zor province, in March 2019.
The Kurdish-led forces captured thousands of ISIS fighters in the fight, sending the families of the militants to al-Hol camp in Hasaka province.
There are currently more than 10,000 suspected ISIS members held in SDF prisons.