ISIS prison break attempt shows importance of uniting against terrorism: UN Envoy
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The unprecedented terrorist attempt at a prison break by ISIS in Hasakah last week demonstrates the importance of uniting against terrorism, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen told UN Security Council members on Wednesday.
Pedersen said the incident was “a clear message” of the importance of uniting to combat the threat of international terrorist groups, and to resolve the broader conflict in which terrorism inevitably thrives, the UN said in a press statement.
An “unprecedented terrorist attempt” to release thousands of detainees with suspected ISIS affiliation began in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakah last Thursday, Jan. 20, sparking bloody clashes.
According to the UN Special Envoy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which run the prison, have retaken complete control over it, with all or most of the ISIS fighters surrendering.
US Ambassador Richard Mills told the UN Security Council that the situation in Hasakah “is a stark reminder that ISIS remains a real threat.”
“First of these objectives is sustaining the United States and Coalition campaign to prevent the resurgence of ISIS, which we view as a cornerstone of our counterterrorism efforts in the region,” he said.
The UN Special Envoy remains “very concerned” for the safety and security of civilians caught up in this situation, many of whom have been displaced.
According to UN data, about 45,000 civilians were displaced due to clashes between ISIS and the SDF.
Pedersen also noted there are reports of ISIS members “still being holed up in dormitories for minors, in effect, using boys as human shields, putting hundreds of children in detention at risk.”
Farhad Shami, the head of the SDF Media Center, told Letta Tayler, Associate director and counterterrorism lead of Human Rights Watch (HRW), that the SDF “deeply share your concerns about the safety and well-being of the children” in a tweet on Thursday.
“We are doing our best to provide the most accurate information for the public in the earliest convenience,” he tweeted.
Tayler earlier expressed worries about the safety of 700 to 800 underage boys who are also held near the prison.
“One prisoner the Australian 17-year-old whose audio clips I heard earlier describing how he was wounded in the head early on amid US-led coalition and #SDF efforts to recapture the prison. He said he saw his friends, boys, shot dead in front of him,” she tweeted on Wednesday.
Special Envoy Pedersen concluded that even if this ISIS “uprising might have been quashed, this episode brings back terrible memories of the prison breaks that fueled the original rise of ISIL in 2014 and 2015.”