After the deadly earthquake that swept through Syria and neighboring Turkey, a mutiny erupted in a prison located in northwestern Syria leading to the escape of at least twenty inmates.
According to a source on location at the Syrian prison, the facility was mostly being used to hold captured fighters of the so-called Islamic State. The prison is question is a military police-run detention centre located in the Syrian town of Rajo near the border with Turkey.
the source added that out of the 2,000 total prisoners, the bulk of them (around 1,300) are thought to be Daesh fighters. In addition, the facility holds a number of Kurdish fighters who have been captured by the pro-Turkish forces manning the prison.
An official at the Syrian prison in Rajo said the following about the incident:
“After the earthquake struck, Rajo was affected and inmates started to mutiny and took control of parts of the prison. About 20 prisoners fled who are believed to be IS militants.”
The prison was thought to have been heavily damaged by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks that devastated Turkey and Syria. Formerly secure doors and walls were said to have been cracked during the event.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which currently monitors the ongoing conflict in the country, they were unable to accurately confirm if inmates had escapes from the prison.
However, they were able to verify that a mutiny had taken place and also claimed that the prisoners who escaped paid anywhere between $1000 and $10,000 to outside figures providing assistance in their escape.
The Syrian Prison Break is not the First Incident in Recent Months
The alleged prison break in the town of Rajo follows a recent devastating Islamic State attack in the Syrian city of Raqqa.
Formerly the de facto capital of the Islamic State and now controlled by Kurdish-led forces, militants from the group launched a violent assault in an attempt to free fellow militants held in a security complex that housed a military intelligence prison being used to detain IS militants. The attack was thwarted, but six Kurdish fighters were killed.
The earthquake is yet another blow to Syrian attempts to recover from the gruelling civil war that erupted across the country in 2011 when a violent crackdown on protesters escalated into a full-blown conflict that draw in numerous countries and violent jihadist groups such as ISIS gain a foothold in the country.
The conflict has taken the lives of over 500,000 people with just under 6,000 killed in the earthquake at the time of writing. The situation was recently made worse following an Israeli airstrike on Aleppo airport, forcing one of the main transport hubs for humanitarian aid to the region to close.