Kurdish forces on Friday announced the escape of five Islamic State (IS) jihadists from a prison near Qamichli town in north-eastern Syria after Turkish air raids targeting the area. Since Wednesday, Turkey and its Syrian counterparts have been carrying out a ground and air offensive against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, where the Kurds have established an autonomous zone through the conflict.
The five IS members detained by Kurdish forces have escaped from Navkur Prison, located in the western outskirts of Qamichli, a predominantly Kurdish city, said a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) official, the main armed force in the country. the Kurdish autonomous region and spearhead of the anti-jihadist struggle. A prison guard told AFP that the prison was home to "foreign fighters" from ISIS. Meanwhile, another SDF official reported "recurrent" bombings near Jirkine prison near Navkur, which is also home to ISIS jihadists.
12,000 IS fighters detained in Kurdish prisons
The Turkish offensive has been condemned by several Western countries, who fear uncertainty about the fate of thousands of jihadist prisoners in the FDS. Some 12,000 IS fighters, Syrians and Iraqis, as well as 2,500 to 3,000 foreigners from 54 countries, are being held in Kurdish prisons, according to a senior official in their administration, Abdel Karim Omar. The Kurdish authorities are managing a total of seven prisons under high security, according to a Kurdish source.
Jean-Yves Le Drian asks for an "emergency meeting"
Also detained are thousands of family members in camps across northeastern Syria, including Al-Hol, where a riot broke out on Friday. Believing that "the fight against Daech ( Arabic acronym of the IS, ed ) is likely to resume," the head of the French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian on Thursday called for an "emergency meeting" of the international anti-jihadist coalition led by Washington. NATO, of which Turkey is a part, has on its side called its members to "stand together against (their) common enemy", the IS. The Turkish offensive against the main Syrian Kurdish militia, the People's Protection Units (YPG), the backbone of the SDS, opens a new front in a conflict that has claimed more than 370,000 lives and millions of refugees.