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Kurdish forces step up battle against IS in Syria after prison assault

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By Euronews
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IS group fighters, arrested by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces after they attacked Gweiran Prison, in Hassakeh, northeast Syria, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022.
IS group fighters, arrested by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces after they attacked Gweiran Prison, in Hassakeh, northeast Syria, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022.   -   Copyright  Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, via AP

Dozens of soldiers and civilians have been killed in Syria following a vicious assault on a Kurdish controlled detention centre in the city of Hassakeh.

More an 100 Islamic State militants using machine guns and explosives, launched the assault on Ghwayran prison on Thursday where many jihadists were held.

A number of inmates managed to escape when a car bomb exploded just outside the facility.

The prison break comes as the terror group also assaulted a military base in Iraq.

A spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Self Defense Forces said most of the prison was under their control on Saturday, apart from a small part that is still being held by rioting prisoners.

He added that fighting was also ongoing in the nearby Zuhour neighbourhood, where IS fighters were holed up.

The Islamic State group was largely defeated in Iraq in 2017, and in Syria in 2019, although it remains active through sleeper cells in many areas.

Militants from the Sunni Muslim extremist group still conduct operations, often targeting security forces, power stations and other infrastructure.

IS attacks have been on the rise in recent months in both Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

However these were the deadliest IS-led attacks in Syria and Iraq since the fall of their "caliphate" three years ago.

As the fighting rages for a third day the US-backed Kurdish security forces have brought reinforcements into Hassakeh to regain control of the areas taken by the Islamic State.

Meanwhile the battles have triggered a mass exodus from Ghwayran's surrounding neighbourhoods.

Thousands have left their homes near the prison, fleeing to nearby areas where their relatives live, but not all the displaced had a safe haven.

Additional sources • AP