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Will Turkey FREE Jihadi Jack? Prison ‘where British fighter being held’ bombed ‘in bid to help ISIS’

Letts, 23, a Muslim convert from Oxfordshire who journeyed to Syria in 2014, was filmed among dozens of prisoners in a town believed to be Qamishli by US network CBS on September 17 

British jihadi Jack Letts may have been staying at an ISIS jail which the Kurds say was shelled by Turkey last night in a ‘clear attempt’ to liberate locked up fighters.

Explosions in the town of Qamishli, near the Iraqi border, rocked the Chirkin prison where militants from some 60 countries are being kept, guards said on Thursday.

Letts – dubbed ‘Jihadi Jack’ – was pictured lying in a squalid, overcrowded cell believed to be inside the very same Kurdish-run prison just weeks ago. 

Mustafa Bali, spokesman for Kurdish forces in northern Syria, said today the Chirkin prison is where ‘the most dangerous jihadists’ are held, as the Kurdish-led SDF warned strikes on ISIS prisons ‘will lead to a catastrophe the consequences of which the world may not be able to handle.’ 

Letts, 23, a Muslim convert from Oxfordshire who journeyed to Syria in 2014, was filmed among dozens of prisoners in a town believed to be Qamishli by US network CBS in a broadcast on September 17.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday over the weekend, his mother Sally Lane said: ‘It’s heart-rending to see your son like this and to feel so completely powerless.

‘We have been pressing the Red Cross for months to tell us what the jail is really like, but they always refuse, saying that to release this information would jeopardise their access.

‘I suppose I always hoped Jack was exaggerating, but now it’s clear that he wasn’t – and that it’s worse than my worst nightmares.’ 

Dubbed 'Jihadi Jack', he was filmed among dozens of fellow Islamic State (IS) prisoners, also in orange jumpsuits, who have been captured by Kurdish militia

Dubbed ‘Jihadi Jack’, he was filmed among dozens of fellow Islamic State (IS) prisoners, also in orange jumpsuits, who have been captured by Kurdish militia

Turkey began shelling and bombing the Kurdish-held town of Qamishli on Wednesday (pictured) ahead of an invasion after Donald Trump handed over control of the region

Turkey began shelling and bombing the Kurdish-held town of Qamishli on Wednesday (pictured) ahead of an invasion after Donald Trump handed over control of the region

Since Letts’ capture he has been held by the Kurdish-led SDF at the prison in the photos. He has not been charged or put on trial. 

He was stripped of his British citizenship earlier this year and his parents had been planning to launch a legal fight for his return.     

Qamishli was among the first Kurdish strongholds to be hit by Turkish warplanes and artillery after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of Operation Peace Spring on Wednesday.

'Hey EU, wake up. I say it again: if you try to frame our operation there as an invasion, our task is simple: we will open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you,' Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara on Thursday

‘Hey EU, wake up. I say it again: if you try to frame our operation there as an invasion, our task is simple: we will open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you,’ Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara on Thursday

A senior Kurdish official warned today that ISIS militants could break out of prisons in northeast Syria as fighting intensifies between the Kurdish-led SDF and Turkey.

Badran Jia Kurd told Reuters the number of security forces guarding the IS detainees would have to be reduced as the Turkish forces step up an offensive that got underway on Wednesday.

‘This attack will definitely reduce and weaken the guarding system for those Daesh militants in the prisons,’ he said, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

‘This could lead to their escape or to behaviours that may get out of the control of the security forces,’ added Jia Kurd, adviser to the Kurdish-led authority running much of north and east Syria.

‘The number of forces guarding the prisons is reduced the more the battles intensify. This poses a grave danger.’

Letts is among some 10,000 ISIS fighters being held in prisons run by the SDF. 

With the Kurdish YPG militia at its forefront, the SDF defeated jihadists in swathes of north and east Syria with U.S. help including ground forces and air power. 

But the US began withdrawing from positions across the northern Syrian border on Monday as Turkish troops prepared to sweep south. 

The US, fearing a weakened hold on prisoners, took two IS terrorists originally from Britain – dubbed The Beatles – from Syria into American custody.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, dubbed ‘the worst of the worst’ by President Donald Trump, were moved to an ‘undisclosed location.’ 

Together, the ‘Beatles’ cell beheaded seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers, and a group of Syrian soldiers, in 2014 and 2015, boasting of the butchery in chilling propaganda videos released to the world.

Alexanda Kotey known as 'Jihadi Ringo'

El Shafee Elsheikh

The two ‘Beatles,’ Alexanda Kotey known as ‘Jihadi Ringo’ (left) and and El Shafee Elsheikh (right), are in U.S. custody. They were part of a group of four British ISIS soldiers who beheaded seven Western journalists and aid workers

Donald Trump said the two terrorists had been taken out of Syria into U.S. custody

Donald Trump said the two terrorists had been taken out of Syria into U.S. custody

Turkey has proposed a ‘peace corridor’ some 20 miles wide and 300 miles long along the border.

Erdogan says this will allow for the repatriation of two million refugees currently in the country, and possibly another million in Europe, if their armed forces are allowed to push further south. 

Erdogan also plans to drive ‘terrorists’ away from Turkey’s border, by which he means the Kurdish-led forces which allied with the US in the fight against ISIS.

However, critics have argued that this will further destabilise the region, lead to civilian deaths and could cause a resurgence in ISIS. 

US Senator Jeanne Shaheen told the Washington Post today: ‘We now the face the very real prospect of 10,000 ISIS prisoners rejoining the battlefield.’

The Center for American Progress warned that President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of support for the Kurds had ‘sowed the seeds of an ISIS resurgence.’ 

Shelling in Qamishli

Shelling in Qamishli

The Kuds said shelling the prison is a deliberate attempt to free the jihadis, which they said would lead to a ‘catastrophe the consequences of which the world may not be able to handle’

Kurdish commanders said strikes on the prison were a deliberate attempt by Turkey to blow holes in the wall and free the jihadis (pictured, a damaged house in Qamishli)

Kurdish commanders said strikes on the prison were a deliberate attempt by Turkey to blow holes in the wall and free the jihadis (pictured, a damaged house in Qamishli)

Kurdish forces say at least four civilians, including Syriac Christians, were hurt in the Turkish bombardment - while video shows bodies lying in the streets (pictured, a damaged home)

Kurdish forces say at least four civilians, including Syriac Christians, were hurt in the Turkish bombardment – while video shows bodies lying in the streets (pictured, a damaged home)

Kelly Magsamen, vice president for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, said: ‘Turkey is now launching airstrikes and artillery aimed at crushing Kurdish and Arab fighters, who have long been friends of the United States.

‘President Trump has not only callously abandoned our Kurdish and Arab allies who have fought ISIS alongside U.S. troops, but he has also sowed the seeds of an ISIS resurgence.

‘Since Turkey has no plan to hold the thousands of captured ISIS fighters that have until now been in the custody of mostly Kurdish forces, we now face the very real prospect of 10,000 ISIS prisoners rejoining the battlefield, further destabilizing the region and our national security.’

Faced with fierce international opposition to his plan, Erdogan wasted no time in threatening to release 3.6million Syrian refugees into Europe if leaders oppose him.

He declared at the parliament in Ankara today: ‘Hey EU, wake up. I say it again: if you try to frame our operation there as an invasion, our task is simple: we will open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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