Reporting and Photography by Christopher Dowd
Coordinated ISIS attacks show that the threat of ISIS is ever present for many Syrians and Iraqis, this is just the largest of many recent attacks. ISIS, better known as Daesh in Iraq and Syria, derogatorily using their Arabic acronym, which they find very insulting, has been continuing to gain strength as an insurgency and even holds Territory South of their former Capital.
ISIS flag found behind after battle with U.S. allied Syrian Democratic Forces
Last night Al-Hasakah, a city in North Eastern Syria, was rattled with a massive explosion and gun fire after a VBIED exploded an oil tanker outside SDF controlled Al-Sina'a Prison, which hold's over three-thousand ISIS fighters, in the Ghweran area of the City as an ISIS sleeper cell used this explosion to help Prisoners escape out of this Kurdish run prison which holds thousands of ISIS fighters. This led to a joint mission between the SDF and U.S. Forces based in the area to contain the area with gun fights still going on as the SDF has warned residents to shelter in place and open the door for no one.
Aftermath of massive explosion at Al-Hasakah's Al-Sina'a ISIS Prison
At the same time gunfire erupted in the Al-Zohour area of Al-Hasakah City in what was just the beginning of coordinated attacks from Ar-Raqqah, Syria, all the way to Diyala, Iraq, not far from the Iranian boarder. So far eighty-nine prisoners have been recaptured out of the over hundred-plus ISIS members who escaped or took park of the attack. As of now twenty three Asayish Members, Internal Security Services and Prison Guards, along with Seven soldiers from the Syrian Democratic Forces have been killed in Al-Hasakah alone as they scrambled and searched the city with unknown death tolls from dual attacks in the former "Caliphates" Capital of Ar-Raqqah in Central Syria, although an SDF spokesmen stated five civilians were killed and approximately forty terrorist well many more were captured as seen in this photo released this morning by the SDF.
ISIS Members arrested by SDF and Asayish in Al-Hasakah, Syria
In Al-Hasakah the SDF assisted by the Asayish and U.S. air support are still searching, for at least twenty more escaped ISIS fighters from multiple Countries and the large amount of ISIS members, who were part of a sleeper cell in North East Syria that started this series of attacks. After almost 24 hours gun fire is still being heard throughout Al-Hasakah. It should be noted that these prisons have long been an issue with the leaders of the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria, commonly known as Rojava although Rojava only refers to the Kurdish areas, asking for years for help to set up an International Tribunal to have ISIS members properly prosecuted. This is something which has yet to happen with Countries refusing to even extradite and prosecute their own citizens who joined Daesh leaving Security Forces in the region over stretched, even though Kurdish special forces in Syria do nearly nightly raids and the United States on average hits the Iraqi-Syrian boarder with around seventy airstrikes a week. Unfortunately after the Caliphate fell many ISIS members blended in with the Civilian population and although many ended up in Kurdish run prisons this prisons are over-loaded and there have been a series of riots and attempted escapes along with terrorist attacks on civilians and U.S. backed Forces in Syria and Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Iraq by sleeper cells that avoided capture.
U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces manning a checkpoint after Prison break in Al-Hasakah
As this happened explosions happened thirteen Iraqi soldiers were killed seventy-five miles North of Baghdad as they broke into Iraqi Army Barracks and eleven Iraqi Soldiers died after they were attacked in their sleeping quarters at around 3 AM in the Al-Azim district of Diyala, which has increasingly become a site for ISIS attacks by sleeper cells which are becoming an increasing issue, attacking check points, infrastructure and civilians who do not adhere to their extremist form of Islam. Sleeper Cells have become an increasing threat as ISIS has even began to hold territory again, starting in late 2020, after Turkey attacked Northern Syria splitting the resources and man power of U.S. backed forces. The territory they hold is in the Central Syrian Desert, East of Palmyra and South of Ar-Raqqah in the Deir- Ez-Zor Province, leaving them a safe haven to communicate with Sleeper Cells throughout Syria and Iraq. This has also allowed them to attack far North of areas they have control of including Aleppo to the West and Al-Hasakah in the East, along with many attack in areas disputed between the Kurdish Regional Government in the North of Iraq and Baghdad in the South, leaving a power vacuum at time that is only filled with local militias of Iran back Popular Mobilization Forces, which have also often attacked American interest.
ISIS controlled Areas and areas of common activity in Syria according to E.U. Security Reports
What this latest coordinated attacks show us is ISIS is far from defeated and the on-going issue of lack of Prison infrastructure is an ongoing threat for both the people of Syria and Iraq but Americans and Europeans alike. Thats said due to the fact little goods get into Northern and Eastern Syria, and the fact many people are still living without electricity and water, and basic food such as wheat, sugar and meat are becoming unaffordable do to the fact it is not being shipped in due to no real boarder crossings open currently to areas controlled by American backed forces it is likely that this prison issue will be continue as a growing humanitarian crisis is developing since Turkey cut off Water to Syria through their systems of dams along the Euphrates River. This along with Turkish shelling in places like Kobanî, there is a severe risk that Erdogan's wish to not have American backed forces anywhere near the border with Syria due to the fact they do not distinguish between American backed Syrian Forces and the Turkish PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, the security situation may deteriorate more in Syria, which like always with ISIS will causes civilians to bear the brunt of most of the attacks. Although American Forces are asserting more control in Eastern parts of Syria as we unfortunately saw over the last twenty-four hours, ISIS is still capable of serious coordinated attacks, which not only threatens security in Iraq and Syria but in the West as well given they have often inspired and even sent people to the West to commit terror attacks in the name of their warped and apocalyptic* vision of Islam. This latest attack is just an example of the ongoing security threat ISIS and its affiliates from ISIS-K in Afghanistan to Boko Haram in Nigeria continue to present to both locals and Western Countries alike.
*ISIS believes their "Jihad" will bring the second coming of Jesus Christ and an apocalyptic War between "true" Muslims who fight for the Caliphate and everyone else leaving this so called Caliphate to rule the World.
Overloaded Kurdish run ISIS Prison in North-Eastern Syria, although this is the most serious it is only one of many attempted prison breaks by ISIS members in Kurdish held jails in North Eastern Syria.