BEIRUT: The militant Islamic State group attacked a Kurdish-run jail in Syria on Thursday, freeing some of its prisoners, a war monitor reported.

A car bomb hit the entrance of the Ghwayran prison and a second blast went off in the vicinity before the IS attacked Kurdish security forces manning the facility, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It did not specify how many escaped and how they managed to break out.

Ghwayran is one of the largest facilities housing IS fighters in north-eastern Syria. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces confirmed the rare attack in a statement, but did not mention any prisoners fleeing.

“A new insurgence and attempted escape by Daesh terrorists detained in Ghw­ayran prison in Al Hasaka in conjunction with an explosion of a car bomb,” it said, using an Arabic acronym for IS. It blamed the attack on “Daesh sleeper cells, who infiltrated from the surrounding neighbourhoods and clashed with the internal security forces”.

The Observatory said the SDF had dispatched reinforcements to the prison and cordoned off the area.

Aircraft belonging to the US-led international coalition battling IS hovered over the facility and dropped flares in its vicinity, the monitor added.

The militant Islamic State group’s self-declared caliphate, established from 2014, once stretched across vast parts of Syria and Iraq and administered millions of inhabitants.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2022

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