Hundreds of ISIS-linked foreigners, including wives and children of the terrorist group’s fighters, fled from a camp they were being held inside in northern Syria on October 13 after shelling by Turkish forces, according to the region’s Kurdish-run ‘self-administration’.
In an official statement, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria accused Turkey of aiding the escape of the ISIS-affiliated foreigners. The administration is the executive branch of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
“Today, 785 foreign ISIS operatives managed to flee Ain Issa camp in coordination with a group of Turkish mercenaries and covered by Turkish shelling,” the administration’s statement reads.
The Turkish military and its Syrian proxies are currently conducting a large-scale military operation in northeast Syria with the aim of establishing a “safe-zone” along Turkey’s border with the region.
Commenting on the foreigners’ escape, SDF official Marvan Qamishlo told Reuters there were not enough guards for the camp, which is located in the northern Raqqa countryside.
“The guarding is very weak now,” he said, adding there were now just 60-70 security personnel at the camp compared with a normal level of no less than 700.
The SDF leadership had repeatedly warned that it would lower protection of prisons and camps where ISIS fighters and their relatives were held if Turkey continue its attack on northeast Syria. These threats were not apparently serious enough for the US.