After al-Hasakeh prison break, Iraq ramps up security in prisons housing ISIS commanders
Shafaq News/ Iraqi security authorities ramped up security measures in and near the prisons housing members and commanders of the terrorist organization ISIS, a source revealed on Saturday.
The source told Shafaq News Agency, "senior commanders directed tightening security measures in the prisons where ISIS commanders are detained."
"Tight security measures were taken in the prisons of al-Taji, al-Kefl, al-Hout. The directive was issued in the aftermath of the attack on the Geweran prison in the Syrian city of al-Hasakeh and the prison break of senior ISIS commanders detained there."
Kurdish-led forces in northeast Syria on Thursday said they thwarted a prison break at a detention center holding ISIS militants.
A spokesperson for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said a car bomb was set off near Geweran prison in Hasakah province.
The "insurgence coincided w/a car bomb explosion near the prison conducted by ISIS sleeper cells, who infiltrated from the surrounding neighborhoods" and clashed with internal security forces, tweeted SDF spokesperson Farhad Shami, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
"In an attempt to create chaos, the Daesh detainees burned blankets and plastic materials inside dormitories," Shami said. "The members of terrorist cells who attacked the prison from outside fled to al-Zohour neighborhood near the prison and hid in civilian homes, and our forces imposed a security cordon around the area."
According to two residents cited by Reuters, several inmates were killed in the episode. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, said "a number of prisoners managed to escape."
The prison unrest comes amid a recent rise in sleeper cell attacks, particularly in Syria's Deir ez-Zor region.
Nearly three years after IS lost its final stronghold in the Syrian town of Baghouz, the group has been exploiting the country's economic crisis to lure new recruits. Prison officials and current detainees in Hasakah told Al-Monitor that IS is offering irresistible sums of money to poor Syrians willing to join their ranks.
The SDF and its political arm, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), have long asked the United States and coalition partners for additional support in securing the detention facilities housing thousands of IS prisoners, many of whom Western governments have refused to repatriate and prosecute.
Sinam Mohamad, the SDC's top diplomat in Washington, tweeted Thursday that the prisons and the potential for detainees to escape remains a threat to northeast Syria.
"A solution should be found to keep the region stable and secure," she said.