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Kurdish forces restore calm to Syria prison after IS inmates riot

Some 5,000 IS suspects are held at the Ghourian prison [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 March, 2020

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The Syrian Democratic Forces say a prison where IS prisoners rioted has been taken 'back under control'.

Kurdish-led security forces said they restored calm Monday at a prison in northeast Syria after a riot by Islamic State group inmates.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four detainees believed to have broken out of Ghourian prison in the town of Hasakeh had been tracked down within the jail.

Some 5,000 IS suspects are held in the jail run by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), according to the Observatory.

On Sunday, prisoners managed to dismantle cell doors and pierce through dormitory walls, overrunning the jail's ground floor, the SDF said.

"The situation in the prison is totally back under control," the SDF said Monday in a statement.

Anti-jihadist forces linked to the SDF had "intervened directly, ending the riot and securing" the facility.

The statement said "no escape had occurred", refuting earlier reports.

IS jihadists overran large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, imposing their brutal rule over millions. 

But various military offensives slowly whittled down their territorial "caliphate", wiping it out a year ago.

Syria's Kurds hold some 12,000 suspected jihadists in several prisons across the northeast of the country.

They are mostly Syrians and Iraqis but also 2,500 to 3,000 foreigners from dozens of foreign countries.

Kurdish authorities called for foreign countries to repatriate their nationals accused of belonging to IS, but these have been largely reluctant.

Instead the Kurds are now urging the international community to help better secure their jails and organise trials of IS-linked detainees on their own soil.

Despite the end of their territorial control, IS fighters still maintain a presence in SDF-held areas and continue to claim frequent attacks.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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