One of the alleged leaders of an Islamic State (ISIS) attack in January 2021 on a prison compound in Hasakah in North and East Syria, said in interrogation that ISIS groups in the region have been financially supported by certain Turkish citizens with ties to the Turkish authorities, according to a report by the Fırat News Agency (ANF).
Muhammed Abd Awad (35), also known as ‘Rashid’, who was captured during the clashes between ISIS and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that followed the assault on the prison compound, said:
‘Certain people in Turkey have been providing financial support to ISIS cells in territories governed by the Autonomous Administration [of North and East Syria (AANES)]. These are individuals who have strong ties to security institutions in Turkey. Certain senior Turkish officials also took part personally in financing both the [Hasakah] assault and all other ISIS activities in the region in general.”
Muhammed Abd Awad also stated that the Hasakah attack, the planning for which had begun as early as April 2021, had originally been set for October. It was postponed more than once, first to November, than to January, due to deployment of armoured vehicles in the area.
He said that the strategic objectives of the attack were to arm the freed prisoners and to make a subsequent move to establish control in an area in the district of al-Nashwa.
The Hasakah attack
While the ISIS attack of 20 January 2022 was eventually thwarted by the SDF, the major armed force of the AANES, the attack marked the most daring move by ISIS since its military defeat at the hands of the SDF. The attack left hundreds dead on both sides: At least 121 form the forces of the AANES , and at least 346 from ISIS.
During the fighting, 3,600 prisoners who had managed to escape were re-captured, according to statements by the SDF. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), however, put the figure much lower, at only 1,100.