The United States late Sunday commended the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for re-taking full control of al-Sina’a prison in northeast Syria (Rojava), which houses thousands of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters, following large-scale clashes that left hundreds of people and fighters dead.
The SDF fully secured al-Sina’a prison in Hasaka on Sunday following a major ISIS attack on the detention center on January 21, which led to over a week-long standoff with the terror group.
“Thanks to the bravery and determination of the SDF, many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice, ISIS failed in its efforts to conduct a large-scale prison break to reconstitute its ranks,” read the statement by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
ISIS attempted to break thousands of its affiliates and members out of al-Sina’a prison, known to locals as Ghweran prison. The SDF arrested 26 people who were “active in smuggling and transferring detainees out of Ghweran prison,” it said in a tweet on Sunday.
“The barbarity of ISIS’ actions during this attack reaffirms why this group must be denied the ability to regenerate and why nations must work together to address the thousands of ISIS detainees in inadequate detention facilities,” Sullivan added, noting that ISIS remains a “global threat that requires a global solution.”
The failed ISIS incursion resulted in the death of 322 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). Among those killed are 246 ISIS members, 79 fighters of the internal security forces (Asayish) and prison guards, as well as seven civilians.
However, the SDF on Monday raised the death toll to 121 of its fighters, prison guards and civilians, as well as 374 ISIS members.
ISIS seized control of swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, declaring a so-called caliphate in 2014, but the terror group was declared territorially defeated in 2017 and 2019 respectively but continues to conduct hit-and-run attacks.
The SDF on Thursday called on the international community to accelerate the repatriation efforts of their ISIS-affiliated nationals.