Kurdish-led forces regain control of Syrian prison

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) regained control of al-Sina'a prison in Syria's northeastern city of Hasaka on Wednesday (January 25).

That's according a spokesman, who added that all remaining Islamic State militants had surrendered.

Officials say at least 200 prison inmates and militants and some 30 security forces have died since Islamic State fighters attacked the jail on Thursday in a bid to free their members.

But about 850 children were caught in the crossfire, and there was no immediate information provided by the SDF on what has happened to those minors.

Juliette Touma is UNICEF's Middle East and North Africa regional advocacy and communications head:

'These children are probably witnessing atrocities that no child should witness. They need to get out of prison as soon as possible and this is exactly why we have called for a humanitarian corridor for UNICEF and other humanitarian organizations to be able to evacuate those children as soon as possible so that they can finally reach safety.'

The children were detained during U.S.-backed campaigns that finally drove Islamic State from its last territorial enclave in Syria in 2019.

They live alongside nearly 5,000 other prisoners in the overcrowded jail.

The Hasaka prison is the largest of several where the SDF holds thousands without charges or trial and includes civilians who resist forced conscription.

The mass detentions in recent years have fuelled growing resentment by Arab tribal members who accuse the Kurdish forces of racial discrimination, a charge denied by the Kurdish-led forces that rule their areas.

The fighting has also forced over 45,000 civilians, mostly women and children, to flee from their homes in districts near the prison.

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