Six fighters killed in surprise ISIS attack on Raqqa security building: SDF
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Six fighters were killed in a surprise attack on the headquarters of the Internal Security Forces in Raqqa, near a security prison, local media reports.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) war monitor reported that two SDF members were killed. However, a SDF official told the local Ronahi TV station that four fighters were killed.
The local ANHA news agency reported that two ISIS fighters were killed in the attack, including one that was carrying an explosive belt in the Al-Diriyah neighborhood, northwest of Raqqa.
The Asayish reportedly imposed a security cordon around the headquarters in search of ISIS cells.
The Asayish in a later statement said an "ISIS terrorist cell attacked a center belonging to the Internal Security Forces and a prison for ISIS terrorist detainees located in the al-Dariya neighborhood, Raqqa city."
"Clashes erupted between our forces and the terrorist attackers, which resulted in the killing of one of the terrorists, arresting another who was wearing a suicide belt, and the others managed to flee to the adjoining neighborhoods."
Moreover, the Asayish later confirmed in a statement that "four fighters of the ISF and two from the SDF were martyred while thwarting the terrorist attack. Following the attack, our forces imposed a complete curfew, launched a large-scale sweep operation in the city to foil the dangerous and continuous terrorist attack."
The Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Mazloum Abdi in a tweet also confirmed that six fighters were killed, amidst "continuous Turkish threats to target the security and stability of the region."
The SDF freed the former ISIS capital Raqqa from ISIS control in Oct. 2017 with support from the US-led anti-ISIS coalition.
Although ISIS lost all the territory that once made up its self-styled caliphate in March 2019, ISIS sleeper cells are still active in northeast Syria, including in Raqqa.
Read More: Asayish fears ISIS attack on Raqqa prison
In October, the Asayish for three days in a row conducted security patrols near the central prison in Raqqa, fearing an ISIS attack.
The SDF on 14 Dec. said coalition forces “entered Raqqa to inspect the city's prison, which contains ISIS terrorist detainees.
“This is the first time that the coalition troops have entered Raqqa since 2019,” the SDF said.
General Michael E. Kurilla, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, told reporters on Dec. 22 that he was concerned about a new Turkish incursion into northeast Syria that could call “SDF partners off the prisons.”
“They have about 28 prisons across northern Syria. It could cause them to pull off those and put those at risk,” he said.
“If you remember, one of the prisons last year, in January of last year, there was a breakout of almost 4,000 ISIS detainees. It also can put at risk the security down at al-Hol Camp. So anything we can do to de-escalate the situation and prevent that incursion by the Turks would be important.”
Story updated on 6:53 PM