Clashes between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Islamic State (ISIS) militants have turned a number of neighbourhoods into battlegrounds in Haseke, northeast Syria on Friday and Saturday, and a curfew has been declared in all areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).
The clashes started after an attempt by ISIS to free detainees from the Sina’a prison in Ghuwayran (Xiwêran) on Thursday evening.
In what appeared to be the biggest attack by ISIS since its defeat at the hands of the SDF in 2019, some detainees affiliated with ISIS managed to break out and there were many casualties in clashes that ensued, both within the prison compound and outside, particularly in the Ghuweyran neighborhood where repelled ISIS groups tried to go into hiding.
The civilian population in some of the neighbourhoods fled due to the clashes.
“We did not know what was happening. We were in our houses when the clashes started. They asked us to evacuate the area and we did. This is what I know. We haven’t had any bread or water since yesterday,” one of the displaced residents told North Press Agency.
“Yesterday there was nothing in our neighbourhood. But the sound of shots terrified our children, so we fled. We fled for the sake of our children and because we are worried about them. There is no bread. All the shops are closed and we had to leave in these conditions,” another resident said.
The clashes left many dead on both sides but the attack was thwarted, and SDF units combed the neighbourhoods in search of concealed ISIS militants.
The SDF General Command stated that 175 ISIS militants had been killed in clashes, while 27 Kurdish fighters had died, including SDF troops.
At least 200 ISIS militants, who had infiltrated the area from Iraq, were believed to have taken part in the attack, according to the SDF General Command.
The AANES Committee of the Interior announced that the curfew declared in AANES territories was imposed from 6pm to 6am, and would end on 31 January.
The announcement also accused Turkey of giving support to ISIS in the attack, to undermine security and stability in the region.
“The Turkish state has thus proved once again by its recent efforts that it has the same mentality as ISIS and constitutes a great threat to the security of both the region and the world,” the statement said.