The latest statement from the Kurdish SDF on over a week of fighting against ISIS in Hasakeh put the overall death toll at nearly 500, including 77 prison staff and 374 prisoners.
The prison was holding ISIS detainees, so the labels of prison staff and prisoners could be meant to include SDF forces defending the prison, and ISIS attackers trying to help prisoners escape. The SDF arrested a number of attackers, and has also captured 27 in nearby Raqqa, suggesting that they are worried about a growing ISIS presence.
The US is praising the SDF, but also crediting America’s own involvement in the fighting. This was seen as a "major ISIS comeback plot," and indeed this was the biggest ISIS fight in Syria since 2019.
According to the Associated Press account of the nearly two week-long ordeal: "The Syrian Democratic Forces said more than 120 of their fighters and prison workers died in the 10-day standoff at the Gweiran prison, also known as al-Sinaa prison, which houses at least 3,000 Islamic State group detainees. Some 374 IS militants, including the initial attackers, were also killed, it added."
"The Jan. 20 assault on one of the largest detention facilities in Syria has turned the city of Hassakeh into a conflict zone and forced thousands of residents to flee," the report added. "The fighting drew in the U.S.-led coalition, which carried out airstrikes and deployed American personnel in Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the scene."
Where the ISIS situation goes from here remains to be seen, but the group is probably not going to give up after one failed raid, and has shown that it has recovered some of its power.
Up to hundreds of ISIS terrorists may have escaped the prison which was located in a US-occupied area of Syria.
NEW - #SDF announce initial, more reliable numbers from #ISIS’s attack on al-Sina Prison:— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) January 31, 2022
- 400 #ISIS “missing”
- 374 #ISIS killed
- 77 #SDF-linked prison staff killed
- 40 #SDF killed
FWIW, if 400 #ISIS escaped, that’s a big deal for NE #Syria dynamics.
That said, the Raqqa arrest raids show the SDF is also going to be proactive in trying to stamp down any ISIS presence.