After President Trump days ago revealed the US military in northeast Syria had moved some of the “most dangerous” ISIS terrorists amid fears they could escape as Turkish forces invade US allied Kurdish areas, saying “We’re putting them in different locations where it’s secure,” a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) official has told reporters that at least 5 ISIS members have escaped after a mortar struck their prison. This comes after a separate earlier ‘riot’ and escape attempt incident filmed at al-Hol prison camp.
CCTV footage released by Syrian Kurdish authorities appears to confirm this, at a moment Qamishli continues to be under severe bombardment through late Friday:
CCTV footage shows panicked ISIS prisoners & guards fleeing a prison outside Qamishli this afternoon after a mortar strike. The SDF says 5 ISIS prisoners got away pic.twitter.com/WD0zpv7P9J
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) October 11, 2019
The Independent (UK) reports of the incident in Qamishli city, which is now under attack by Turkey:
Five Isis militants have broken out of a prison in northern Syria after Turkish shelling nearby, a spokesman in the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has said. The detainees escaped from a prison in Qamishli city, Marvan Qamishlo said.
The official statement from the SDF’s Coordination and Military Ops Centers said that “5 ISIS detained militants fled Jirkin prison in Qamishli as a result of Turkish shelling.”
Separate video released showed the moments Turkish artillery shells rained down on the prison:
Video of from the CCTV of the Navkur prison in NE Syria where a mortar hit. Some ISIS suspects are fleeing while number of SDF fighters were trying to transfer them them to a safer location pic.twitter.com/gVrc1ad6b4
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) October 11, 2019
Crucially, the SDF announced days ago that under Turkish attack they can no longer maintain appropriate level of security guarding their ISIS prisoners.
And though American special forces personnel are still present at a number of bases in the region (after having fallen back from border observation posts amid the Turkish operation), it doesn’t appear the Pentagon has any sort of contingency plan.
The SDF are holding an estimated 2,000 foreign ISIS fighters, 8,000 local ISIS militants, and 70,000 women and children affiliated with the group in various detention centres and camps in northern Syria. — Rudaw
The SDF currently holds an estimated total 11,000 ISIS prisoners according to most international reports, not to mention families of Islamic State terrorists at al-Hol camp, the region’s largest.
The White House’s plan to allow Turkish forces to ensure capture and detention of all ISIS prisoners has been met with severe controversy and push back this week; however, Trump has threatened severe economic reprisals on Ankara, including “very powerful” sanctions, should Erdogan fail to maintain his prior promises and responsibilities, some of which were personally assured to Trump in a phone call last weekend.