More than 100 ISIS prisoners have escaped in Syria since Turkish invasion, US State Department reveals
More than 100 ISIS prisoners have escaped in Syria in the chaos since Turkey’s invasion, a top U.S. State Department official told Congress today.
James Jeffrey, Washington’s special envoy for Syria, said the number is ‘now over 100’ and said: ‘We do not know where they are’.
His claims stand in contrast to Donald Trump’s assertion today that captured ISIS prisoners had been ‘secured’ under a deal between Russia and Turkey.
Trump’s critics have voiced fears of an ISIS breakout ever since the President ordered U.S. forces out of Syria earlier this month.
More than 100 ISIS prisoners have escaped in Syria in the chaos since Turkey’s invasion, top U.S. State Department official James Jeffrey (pictured) said today
Detention camps in Syria are believed to be holding more than 10,000 militants, including some 2,000 foreign fighters.
In addition, tens of thousands of ISIS-linked women and children are held at the al-Hol camp in north-eastern Syria.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) previously warned they would not be able to spare the forces to guard al-Hol once Turkey invaded.
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who remains at large, called on his supporters last month to attack the camps and set the detainees free.
Jeffrey earlier said that the U.S. was counting on both Turkey and the Kurdish fighters to contain ISIS in Syria.
‘Both Turkey and the SDF have fought against ISIS,’ he told a U.S. Senate panel yesterday.
‘If they are not forced to face off against each other, we can rely on both of them against ISIS,’ he said.
‘We’ve done a pretty good job of bringing this attack to a halt. Turkey has not really gained all that much from this.’
He estimated that the number of Kurdish victims of Turkey’s advance was ‘in the low hundreds.’