SDF publishes balance of fighting in Hesekê: 175 mercenaries killed
The SDF have published a preliminary balance of the attempted storming of the Sina prison in Hesekê. According to this, 175 mercenaries were killed and 27 SDF fighters fell as martyrs. The prison is not yet under control.
The General Command of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has published the balance sheet since the attempted storming, on Thursday evening, of the Sina prison in the Xiwêran district of Hesekê, where almost 5,000 ISIS mercenaries are held.
The statement said: “It is well known that the Turkish state continues to attack and threaten our areas heavily. Six young people were killed in a drone attack in Kobanê. After that, attacks on civilians in Ain Issa, Zirgan [ar. Abu Rasen] and Til Temir have been increased. Our forces have effectively resisted these attacks and protected our people, villages and towns. While our units were resisting, ISIS mercenaries carried out a full-scale attack on the Sina prison in Hesekê. This prison is the largest detention center for captured ISIS members in the region. It poses a great threat not only to our territories, but to the security of the entire world."
"200 suicide bombers from the Turkish occupation zone and Iraq"
The statement added. "According to the statements of some mercenaries involved in the attack, 200 suicide bombers took part in this attack. Some of these mercenaries came to the Xiwêran district from the occupation zone around Serêkaniyê [Ras al-Ain] and Girê Spî [Tall Abyad] and others from Iraq. After six months of preparation, a vehicle bomb attack was carried out at approximately 7.30 pm on 20 January. The mercenaries inside the prison simultaneously attacked medical staff, cooks and security guards and tried to break out. There is still no reliable information about the fate of the workers inside the prison.
The mercenaries' attempt to break out was thwarted to a large extent. However, some managed to escape to the nearby economics faculty. Our forces have taken control of the prison surroundings and area. However, the most difficult were the battles with the cells that attacked from the outside. Heavy fighting broke out in Xiwêran, Heyî Zuxûr district and Panorama Square. During these battles, most of the ISIS cells involved have been neutralized. Several cell members were also arrested in Xiwêran and heavy weapons such as DschK were seized."
"175 attacking Islamists killed in battle"
The statement continued: "Finally, the area surrounding the prison is currently controlled by our forces and the necessary measures have been taken to prevent further escape attempts. Our forces continue to try to take control inside the prison. In the fighting over the past few days, over 160 attackers and 15 captured mercenaries who fought against our forces to escape from prison have been killed. A total of 175 mercenaries were killed.
27 SDF members killed
In the last three days, 27 of our members have fallen in heroic combat. The situation is under control at the moment. As SDF and internal security forces, we will launch an operation against ISIS with 10,000 fighters. It is a broad-based operation against covert ISIS cells and mercenaries trying to wreak havoc in Hesekê, Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.
Appeal to the civilian population
The SDF, the security forces of the Asayîş and the HPC have shown great courage and resistance to the incidents over the past three days. At the same time, forces of the International Coalition against ISIS actively participated in the operation alongside our forces.
The people of Xiwêran and Hesekê also helped us. We express our gratitude to our people for this. We call on the people of Hesekê and everyone in the region to support the security forces. Our units are currently moving with extreme caution to avoid harm to civilians. The mercenaries are still hiding among the civilian population in Xiwêran. We therefore proceed with great caution.
As the SDF, we waged a major war against ISIS with a high level of sacrifice. We crushed its supposed caliphate and saved both our territories and the world from this plague. Likewise, we are determined to eliminate what remains of ISIS as well. Ultimately, we will permanently rid the world of this threat. This is what we have chosen and this will be our response to the ISIS attacks. However, we consider it necessary to make certain information public."
Parallel attacks by Turkey and ISIS
The statement added: "According to captured ISIS mercenaries, some of those responsible wanted to flee to Turkey and occupied areas such as Serêkaniyê. Some have come from the Ramadi region of Iraq, which is also notable. Meanwhile, the Turkish occupying forces and their mercenaries attacked our positions in front of Ain Issa, killing three of our members. There has been great resistance to these attacks and they have been defeated. In addition, attacks also take place at Til Temir and Zirgan. It is striking that these are carried out at the same time as the ISIS attacks. As SDF, however, we will continue to defend our people and our areas against attacks with a high level of sacrifice."
Sina Prison not fully under control
The SDF issued a second statement saying: "It is reported in some media that our forces have completely regained control of Sina prison. Our units have managed to bring most of the prison under control. It is now no longer possible for the mercenaries to climb over the prison walls and flee. However, the threat situation persists. The mercenaries are trying to attack the northern cells of the prison. Our clean-up operation continues. Dozens of mercenaries have been killed and more captured in today's fighting."