Ibrahim Mohammad Wahdi
This article was initially & inadvertently attributed to Vanessa Beeley. This was OffG’s error and we apologise to Mr. Wahdi and to Ms Beeley
On January 20, 2022, the militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) launched a violent attack on Ghweran prison in Al-Hasakah, northeast Syria.
This is the largest gathering of ISIS in the world and controlled by the Kurdish separatists, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The prison contains about 3,500 fighters and leaders of ISIS from more than 50 nationalities.
The attackers detonated a booby-trapped car at the northern gate of the prison. They advanced on three axes with more than 100 trained ISIS fighters. Another estimated 100 ISIS prisoners launched a rebellion inside the prison, but their numbers quickly increased after they gained control of the arms depot inside the prison.
The General Command of the Asayish (Kurdish Internal Security forces) announced a week-long curfew in Al-Hasaka city. All entry points were blocked to prevent the entry of ISIS reinforcements. Despite the deployment of security checkpoints throughout the city, multiple ISIS terrorists managed to escape.
After six days of the fiercest fighting since the “defeat” of ISIS in 2019, SDF announced the surrender of the escaped ISIS fighters and claimed to have regained full control of the prison and surrounding areas.
More than 200 from both sides were killed in the firefights while an alleged 800 prisoners escaped according to Amaq, the ISIS media outlet.
Violent clashes led to the further displacement of thousands of civilians and huge damage to infrastructure attributed to the US raids that targeted Al-Zohour and Ghweran neighbourhoods.
How did this break out happen and why?
Details of the ISIS attack and the prisoner break-out are hazy until now. The attack indicates close coordination between ISIS groups inside and outside the prison. It must also be remembered there is a history of corruption among the SDF prison guards which perhaps facilitated the seizure of the arms depot.
The entry of ISIS sleeper cells into an area considered one of the most fortified and intelligence controlled areas by both the SDF and the US-led International Coalition forces, also indicates a CIA involvement.
In what appears to be an attempt to justify the SDF corruption and to blame the Turks and Russians for the incident, Richard Spencer, a London Times journalist wrote:
Britain and other European countries have turned their backs, refusing to allow militants or their wives and widows to return home, even to face trial,” adding, “No one should forget the contribution of the Turks to continuing to attack SDF-controlled territory, based on their own grievances against the Kurds, nor the Russians, for impoverishing eastern Syria by vetoing cross-border UN aid.”
Spencer completely ignored an investigation by The Guardian showing the extent of rampant corruption in the prison administration controlled by the SDF.
ISIS fighters were believed to pay up to $8000 to walk free. This kind of operation would not be possible without CIA endorsement or their looking the other way.
Additionally, a Sputnik article quoting individuals within the SDF militia, confirmed the SDF withdrawal from 3 points in the vicinity of the prison which effectively provided an escape route for a number of ISIS leaders towards locations provided to them by the US-led “International Coalition”.
This coincided with a pre planned operation of releasing the supposedly “surrendered” detainees and gathering them in two specific locations in the vicinity of Al Hasakah city. Using the chaos of the US attacks as cover, the US proceeded to transport 750 ISIS terrorists by bus and SUV to locations in the Al Bukamal desert, west of the Syrian-Iraqi border, and to the east of the Al Bishri mountain in Deir Ezzor southern countryside.
The ISIS fighters included a number of high ranking ISIS command, many of whom were reported to hold Arab, Belgian and Dutch nationalities. The cadres were provided protection by the SDF elite forces and airspace was protected by US Coalition reconnaissance planes which monitored their progress and assured their safety, bypassing high-risk roads.
The following video is taken from AMAQ channel which broadcast videos showing the escape from the prison:
There are too many unanswered questions.
How did a booby-trapped car penetrate a tight SDF security cordon to reach the prison gate only one kilometer away from the Institution Compound, the most important headquarters of the US Army in the area?
Why were the majority of prisoners taken by ISIS during the escape Arab? The SDF immediately negotiated the release of four Kurdish captives and left the 18 Arab kidnapees to their fate. Arabs that were originally believed to be victims of forced conscription by the SDF.
This all consists of a circulated document that was leaked from the Iraqi intelligence at the beginning of the attack, showing that the intention was to smuggle 5,000 ISIS terrorists into Iraq, which prompted the Iraqi army command to intensify its patrols on the Iraqi-Syrian border.
The document indicated that the number of ISIS detainees is higher than announced by the SDF.
The attack was preceded with the preparation of a Syrian/Russian military campaign that will launch from eastern Homs towards the depth of the Syrian Badia (desert) to eliminate about 2,000 ISIS terrorists deployed in several points in the region.
In addition to Russian military reinforcements at T4 Airport and the start of joint Syrian-Russian air patrols over Syrian territory with Russian Su-34 and Su-35 fighters, A-50 early warning aircraft, and Syrian MiG-23 and MiG-29.
The mission’s route will run along the Golan Heights, the southern region, the Euphrates River, and over northern Syria. The Syrian pilots controlled airspace and provided fighter cover, while Russian crews practiced attacks on ground targets. This kind of joint mission will now take place on a regular basis, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense:
Alexey Zaitsev, Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in a briefing on Thursday that the US and SDF have failed to eliminate ISIS and provide security in northeastern Syria:
It is obvious that neither the US nor the local Kurdish authorities have managed to ensure security in the northeastern Syrian territories they control […] The success of the ISIS attack against the Sina’a prison, where the most dangerous terrorists were kept, proved yet again that the US military failed in its mission,”
On January 27 2021, the Military Public Prosecution (MPP) in Syria issued a statement, stressing that there is no legal justification for the US presence in Syria and it has no name other than “occupation”, and that the recent events in Hasaka represent the US plan to keep the region under its occupation for a longer period by sponsoring the separatist scheme under the cover of the illegal “International Coalition” and supporting SDF equipment, weapons, and political cover.
The MPP presented facts and documents that prove and expose the relationship between the United States and ISIS, through the support of the US forces located at Al-Tanf base for the attacks launched by ISIS terrorists in the Syrian Badia against the Syrian forces and their allies.
The Military Public Prosecution is an independent judiciary entity whose mission is to promote criminal litigation on behalf of the citizenry and to search for the truth without seeking to convict the accused.
Neither courts nor investigative judges can direct or order the MPP, but rather ask it to carry out the procedures without any authority over it. MPP administratively reports to the Minister of Defense Each of MPP members is considered as much a representative of the community as a representative for the Military Prosecutor.
Israeli Kan channel has reported:
An Israeli source reveals that special units of the Israeli army have carried out 3 sensitive operations deep inside Syria since the beginning of 2022,”
It was also stressed that the operations inside Syria have not stopped, along with the repeated Israeli air attacks on Syrian sites claiming the presence of Iranian or affiliated factions. Adding the explicit Israeli role announced by Aviv Kohavi, Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, “We made an incursion a month ago not far from here, and I will not go into details.”
אמירה מעניינת של הרמטכ"ל כוכבי במסגרת ציון 25 שנה לאסון המסוקים. ע"פ דבריו, שנאמרו מול בני נוער, צה"ל ביצע בחודש האחרון "פשיטה" במדינה סמוכה ("לא הרחק מכאן") מעבר לגדר
כוכבי לא הסכים להגיד עוד pic.twitter.com/UNMFyUOHa3
— איתי בלומנטל Itay Blumental (@ItayBlumental) January 26, 2022
We can clearly see that the largest organized smuggling and mass transfer of ISIS militants towards the Syrian Badia connected with the Iraqi border north of Al-Tanf region, which coincided with the Ukraine crisis and the negotiations of the Iranian nuclear deal, aims to trigger chaos by CIA and Israeli intelligence through reviving ISIS to keep it as a pretext for the US occupation of Syrian lands.
This covers its looting of Syrian resources, in addition to promoting a demographic change in northern Syria by exiling Arabs from the region while Turkey is strengthening its mercenaries in there.
While Turkey was bombing SDF sites instead ISIS, SDF was razing Arab houses in the area during the clashes.
The danger of the ISIS card lies in the large numbers distributed among 9 prisons in the US-backed SDF-controlled areas, which are potential targets for similar attacks, especially the “Kamba Al-Bulgar” prison, east of Al-Shaddadi city in the southern countryside of Hasaka, which includes 5,000 ISIS militants.
In addition to Al-Sina’a prisons, Al-Shaddadiyah, Derek/ Al-Malikiyah, Al-Kasra, Al-Raqqa Central Prison, Rmelan and Nafker in the Qamishli city, from which 60 ISIS militants were transferred to a prison in Al-Hasakah last September.
The most important goal remains to keep Al-Tanf base that was established there to prevent linking the countries of the Resistance Axis from Iran to Lebanon and put pressure on the Syrian Arab Army, Russia, and Iran by preoccupying them with side battles to improve negotiation opportunities. This in itself is in the interest of Israel, which fears the increase of Russian-Syrian cooperation.
In addition to Israel accusing Russia of disrupting Israeli navigation systems through its air defense systems based at Hmemiem base, the conducting of Russian patrols in the port of Latakia and joint Russian-Syrian air patrols without informing Israel indicate to the decline in Russian-Israeli coordination, which will contribute to reducing Israel’s ability to attack Syria, as it also denies what the Israeli newspapers published about giving a Russian green light to Israel to strike Syria however it wants.
The recent escalation of operations targeting US forces’ sites indicates that Syria and its allies insist on following the popular resistance approach to expel the US occupation, which worries the US more than anything.
It is impossible to curb such operations that have proven successful previously, especially in southern Lebanon with Israel, and it is very likely that the Al-Tanf base will be heavily targeted by intensive strikes with missiles and drones.