Syria Kurds say prison housing IS fighters hit by Turkey

Map of the border area between Turkey and Syria where Ankara launched an offensive against the Kurds to create a "buffer zone". (AFP Photo/Patricio ARANA)

Beirut (AFP) - Syria's Kurds said Thursday that Turkish bombardment had hit a prison they use to house captured Islamic State group fighters, despite Ankara's pledge to do nothing to undermine the campaign against the jihadists.

"The Turkish regime... targeted a section of the Jerkin prison," in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in the northeast, the region's autonomous Kurdish administration said.

"The prison houses some of the most dangerous criminals from more than 60 countries, who committed all kinds of crimes when they were members of the IS group," it added.

The Kurdish authorities have repeatedly talked up the threat they say Ankara's offensive poses to the US-led campaign against the jihadists.

One of the beleaguered Kurds' last hopes is that the prospect of IS prisoners breaking out and regrouping with increasingly active sleeper cells will spur the world into action.

But the Kurdish administration made no mention of any breakout from Jerkin prison and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkish "artillery fire" hit the "vicinity" of the prison, and not the facility itself.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who were the principal ground partner in the US-led campaign against IS now hold thousands of captured jihadist fighters in jails across the northeast.

Thousands of their relatives are also being held in Kurdish-run camps, where they have stabbed security forces, assaulted aid workers, and attempted to escape.