While combing operations to re-capture fleeing Islamic State (ISIS) members after the mass prison break at Sina’a Prison in Haseke, northeast Syria, continue, there are recent reports that fugitives are heading to Turkey and to Turkish occupied Syrian territories.
Various sources indicate that a large number of ISIS prisoners managed to escape after the assault on the prison compound in mid-January.
Some of these escapees have fled to Turkey, and some to Syrian territories occupied by Turkish forces and its proxies in ‘Operation Euphrates Shield’ in the eastern and northeastern countryside of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has reported.
According to SOHR sources, security forces of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) arrested three ISIS fugitives in the village of Hiesha in Ain Issa, north of Al-Raqqa, on the 3rd of February, as they were staying with a smuggler who’d agreed to take them to Turkey for 4000 US dollars per person.
SOHR sources also reported on the arrest of two women while they were trying to flee to Turkey to join up with their husbands who had recently escaped from Sina’a Prison.
Another report involves two ISIS emirs who managed to flee during the prison break to the city of Jarablus in Aleppo province, currently under the occupation of Turkish forces and proxy Syrian National Army (SNA).
The Wall Street Journal, has also reported on Monday about the reappearance of ISIS members in Haseke two weeks after the attempted mass prison break out on 20 January.
“The ongoing hunt for escaped prisoners shows how the prison break may have succeeded to a degree beyond that acknowledged by American officials and their local partners. The Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF], a Kurdish-dominated militia that controls northeastern Syria with U.S. backing, has yet to disclose how many prisoners remain on the run,” the report said.
In the most comprehensive ISIS attack since the group’s military defeat in 2019, the mass break out from the Sina’a Prison was followed by 10-day long clashes between ISIS members and the SDF units during which nearly 500 died on both sides in total.
As at least 1,100 prisoners were recaptured in operations carried out by the SDF, it is yet to be disclosed how many prisoners remain on the run.