Home LATEST NEWS Minors trapped in jihadist attack on Syrian prison

Minors trapped in jihadist attack on Syrian prison

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On January 20, more than 100 jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) armed group stormed Ghwayran prison with truck bombs and heavy weapons. Violent clashes followed for several days around and within this prison in northeastern Syria.

According to a new report established Monday by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), 154 people were killed in five days of fighting between Kurdish and jihadist forces, that is 102 jihadists, 45 Kurdish fighters and seven civilians.

Nearly 45,000 people fled their homes after the prison was stormed and the intense fighting ensued, according to theUnited Nations.

spearhead of the fight againstIslamic State armed group, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US-led coalition consolidated their positions around the prison, with a view to carrying out an assault, according to theSyrian Observatory for Human Rights.

But their progress is hampered by the presence of minors in the prison, caught Held hostage and used as human shields by the jihadists, according to a statement from the Syrian Democratic Forces. Previously held in a rehabilitation center, these minors are now locked in a dormitory, they assured.

Some of these minors, numbering 850, are as young as 12, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which called for their protection and underlined the risk of children being harmed or forcibly recruited by theIslamic State armed group.

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For Sara Kayyali, researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), children are indeed trapped in the prison, most aged between 12 and 18.

The researcher reported receiving a voicemail from an injured miner in Ghwayran saying thatthere are corpses everywhere.

Children are at considerable risk on both sides. »

A quote from Sara Kayyali, Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher

Ghwayran prison, a former school converted into a penal center three years ago during the defeat of theIslamic State, was heavily overcrowded before the assault, with at least 3,500 jihadists among the detainees according to theSyrian Observatory for Human Rights.

According to Nicholas Heras of the Newlines Institute in Washington, prison breaks represent the best opportunity for IS to regain its strength and Ghwayran prison is a good target as it is overcrowded.

The Kurds, who control parts of northern and northeastern Syria, have been calling for years in vain for the repatriation of some 12,000 jihadists of more than 50 nationalities – European and other – held in their prisons.

Two armored vehicles are parked in a street and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are standing in the back.

Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) patrol the streets of Hassakah in search of fugitives.

Photo: afp via getty images / –

Week-long curfew in Hassakeh

Main support of the Kurdish forces during their offensives againstIslamic State armed group, coalition forces based in the region have massively deployed in Hassakeh.

Coalition helicopters fly over the area where the prison is located, according to an AFP correspondent on the spot. On the ground, Kurdish fighters are stepping up efforts to find fugitives.

On Monday, after a raid by Kurdish forces, jihadists surrendered to Syrian Democratic Forces, assured their spokesman Farhad Shami.

The Kurdish authorities have decreed a full curfew in Hassaké and its surroundings for seven days from January 24, for’prevent terrorist cell members from escaping.

Apart from those of basic necessities, businesses must close.

With northeastern Syria in the grip of freezing cold, civilians living near the prison do not know where to flee.

Eighty-year-old Hamcha Sweidan told AFP: we were going to die of hunger and thirst corn now we don’t know where to go.

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