The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the armed force of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), released details of the operations carried out in response to the recent attack of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Haseke.
Speaking at a press conference in Haseke, SDF General Command member Newroz Ehmed stated that the ISIS attack had started 20 January with the assault against the Sina’a prison compound housing thousands of suspected ISIS fighters as explosive-laden vehicles were detonated and ISIS groups attacked from three directions while the ISIS detainees inside the compound charged the security guards and workers.
Newroz Ehmed pointed out that the pre-planned ISIS attack in Haseke was not confined to the assault against the Sina’a prison alone and that a truck loaded with weapons had been brought in front of the compound for arming the detainees after the planned break out in order to carry out attacks against military posts in the neighbourhoods of Xiwêran and Zihûr. The objective of the second phase of the attack, she said, was crippling the military capability and public services of the Autonomous Administration of NE Syria (AANES) in the region.
Ehmed added that had ISIS had succeeded with its Haseke operation, it would have gone on implementing a plan with consequent atacks in Al Hol refugee camp, in Deir ez-Zor and in Ash Shaddadi, and would have eventually declared its second caliphate.
She also indicated that an important reason that ISIS was still capable of carrying out such large-scale operations even after its military defeat in 2019 was the direct or indirect support provided by some of the states in the region.
“The role of the Turkish state is the most significant one,” she said. “The Turkish state is responsible to a great extent for the ISIS attack on the Sina’a prison and for the continuation of ISIS attacks in general. The constant threats and military attacks of the Turkish state targeting north and east Syria both emboldens ISIS and also gives it ground for getting organised. Turkish occupied territories like the cities of Serêkaniyê [Ras al-Ayn] and Girê Spî [Tell Abyad] have become safe spots for the organisation and training of ISIS groups. Most of the fighters that took part in the last Haseke attack actually came from these territories.”
Ehmed also shared the figures on fatalities during clashes that followed the attack on the 20 January, continuing for more than a week both inside the prison compound and in the surrounding neighbourhoods till the surrender of ISIS groups.
She said that 77 security guards and workers of the Sina’a prison were killed when ISIS took control of the prison and that 40 SDF troops, 4 civilians, and 374 ISIS fighters were killed in the clashes that ensued.