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Deadly fighting between IS, Kurd forces in Syria

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Fighting raged for a third day Saturday between the Islamic State group and Kurdish forces in Syria after IS attacked a prison housing jihadists, in violence that has claimed over 70 lives, a monitor said.

The assault on the Ghwayran prison in the northern city of Hasakeh is one of IS’s most significant since its “caliphate” was declared defeated in Syria nearly three years ago.

“At least 28 members of the Kurdish security forces, five civilians and 45 members of IS have been killed” in the violence, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

IS launched the attack on Thursday night against the prison housing some 3,500 suspected members of the jihadist group, including some of its leaders, said the Observatory.

The jihadists “seized weapons they found” in the detention centre and freed several fellow IS fighters, said the Britain-based monitor, which relies on sources inside war-torn Syria for its information.

Hundreds of jihadist inmates had since been recaptured but dozens were still believed to be on the loose, the Observatory said.

With the backing of US-led coalition aircraft, Kurdish security forces have encircled the prison and are battling to retake full control of surrounding neighbourhoods, which jihadists have used as a launching pad for their attacks.

The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)on Saturday said it was continuing “operations to keep security in Hasakeh city and the perimeter of the Ghwayran prison,” with the help of coalition allies and Kurdish internal security forces. 

It said Saturday’s clashes centred mostly in neighbourhoods north of Ghwayran, where it carried out raids and “killed a number of IS fighters that had attacked the jail.”

The jihadist group said in a statement released on Friday by its Amaq news agency that its attack on the jail aimed to “free the prisoners”.

– ‘Fat target’ -IS has carried out regular attacks against Kurdish and government targets in Syria since the rump of its once-sprawling proto-state was overrun in March 2019. Continue Reading

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