Syrian-Kurdish authorities say IS prison riot over 'coronavirus fears' has ended

Syrian-Kurdish authorities say IS prison riot over 'coronavirus fears' has ended
2 min read
04 May, 2020
A brief riot has erupted in a prison in Hassakeh, housing IS detainees.
The prison has been taken over by detainees twice in two months [Getty-file photo]
A riot at a prison housing Islamic State group detainees in northeastern Syria has ended, after talks with prison officials.

Prisoners took over the detention centre in Hassakeh province - which is controlled by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - following fears among detainees about the spread of the coronavirus, according to some reports.

A riot erupted in the same prison in March over the virus and conditions, with detainees taking control of the complex for two days and four IS suspects escaping.

Sunday's unrest lasted only a few hours, but allowed the former militants to briefly take control of the prison.

Reinforcements were rushed to the prison while US helicopters circled overhead, SDF spokesperson Gabriel Sino said, according to The National.

Negotiations took place between prisoners and the SDF and US coalition officials that ended the riot.

Around 10,000 suspected IS militants are being held in detention facilities controlled by the SDF, but a lack of resources have led to overcrowded and unsanitary prisons with security problems due to a shortage of guards.

The militant group controlled much of eastern and northern Syria - as well as much of Iraq - from 2014, killing thousands of civilians and prisoners of war during their brutal rule.

A US-backed Iraqi and Kurdish offensive saw the militants defeated in Iraq, while seperate Syrian regime, Kurdish and Turkish assaults in Syria saw the last of the so-called "caliphate" fall.

The prison riot comes at a tense time with the emergence of a new deadly insurgency in Iraq by IS militants with assaults on regime forces in central Syria.

There are fears that IS militants might look to take advantage of tensions between the US and Iran-backed Iraqi militias to attack security forces.

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