- A video released by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reportedly shows prisoners escaping in the aftermath of an attack near Qamishli, Syria on Friday. Reports of the prison break or whether the prisoners were affiliated with ISIS have not been independently verified.
- ISIS has indicated that it plans to stage prison breaks across Syria and Iraq in order to regroup and build their forces.
- The video of the alleged ISIS jailbreak emerged on the same day that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “the president wants to make very clear it is imperative that Turkey not allow even a single ISIS fighter to escape.”
- Both experts and US officials have indicated that the US’s withdrawal of troops from this region of Syria could jeopardize the SDF’s ability to guard the thousands of ISIS prisoners detained there.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
Leadership from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has shared video with the media, allegedly showing the escape of ISIS militants from a prison near Qamishli, a town on the Syria-Turkey border targeted by Turkish forces in their ongoing air and ground attacks.
New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi shared the video on Twitter on Friday, with the caveat that the prison break and the prisoners’ ISIS affiliations haven’t been independently confirmed.
The video of the alleged ISIS jailbreak emerged on the same day that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “the president wants to make very clear it is imperative that Turkey not allow even a single ISIS fighter to escape.”
1. A Kurdish official with the SDF has shared a video with reporters which he says shows a small group of ISIS prisoners escaping from the Navkur prison in Qamishlo. I’m not on the ground so this needs further confirmation, but if true this is not good news. pic.twitter.com/PNgG6D9ffv
— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) October 11, 2019
The video shows an explosive hitting the ground of a courtyard or outdoor space, then switches to a view of two men opening a door for several others to run through.
The Institute for the Study of War stressed to Insider that the current reports come from ISIS or SDF sources, and independent verification of the prison break is not yet available.
But ISIS leadership has expressed its intention to stage large-scale prison breaks both in Syria and Iraq, as Insider previously reported, and experts and US officials have repeatedly warned that the SDF lacks the resources to both guard roughly 11,000 ISIS prisoners currently under their watch, and fight Turkish forces.
Other security incidents at prisons and displacement camps in northeast Syria, or Rojava as Kurds call the territory, and in Iraq have already occurred, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
A report from the think tank indicates that a prison break has already occurred at Al-Bab, Syria, where militants were being guarded by Turkish-backed opposition groups. At least 10 militants escaped.
ISIS also claimed responsibility for two car bombings in Qamishli that killed three, according to the Associated Press.
Staff writer David Choi contributed to this article.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.