The Turkish military attack on Kurdish targets in northeastern Syria is raising U.S. concerns about the status of Islamic State prisoners held in the country.
On Friday, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said the prison camps must be secured.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, SAYING:
"On the phone call I just had with General Gular...the head of the Turkish military, I confirmed that he understands clearly that the Turkish military has responsibility, not only for the prisoners but for collateral damage, humanitarian assistance in the areas where they're having a large scale military operations. He acknowledged that, so that's, right now it's Turkey's responsibility to secure those ISIS prisoners."
Those prisoners have been held at camps like al-Hol by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
But with Turkey now targeting those troops, SDF officials warn their ability to guard the detainees has weakened.
On Friday, a Syrian Kurdish official said women affiliated with ISIS set tents on fire and attacked security offices at the al-Hol camp with sticks and stones.
The camp unrest came as ISIS claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack in the Syrian city Qamishli, as the area was being hit by Turkish shelling.
The ISIS news agency Amaq said the attack targeted Kurdish militants.
Kurdish sources said 5 ISIS fighters fled a city jail amid the chaos.
The Turkish incursion against the Kurds, which President Tayyip Ergodan says will not stop, has raised tensions with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump.
Trump withdrew U.S. troops who had been fighting alongside those Kurds against Islamic State.
Fending off accusations he had abandoned the Kurds, Trump authorized "very significant" sanctions on Turkey -- THOUGH STOPPED SHORT OF IMPLEMENTING THEM.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Friday said Trump was concerned about civilians being targeted and ISIS fighters escaping.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY, SAYING:
"These are very powerful sanctions. We hope we don't have to use them, but we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to."
The incursion has opened a new front in the eight-year Syrian civil war and drawn fierce international criticism, with the death toll approaching 100 and some 100,000 fleeing their homes.