Islamic State Militants Pursued After Syria Prison Break
US-backed Kurdish militias are searching for Islamic State fugitives involved in a northeast Syria prison break marked the worst violence the country has seen in years with over 500 casualties. The terrorist group launched the prison break to replenish its dwindling ranks, but was eventually defeated by security forces. In addition, the prison break was among the last acts that al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the former leader of the Islamic State, performed while in power. Last week, he detonated explosives that killed both him and his family during a US Special Forces raid in northwestern Syria last Thursday. Gunmen from the Islamic State have appeared in the city of Hasakah in the days following the prison break, demonstrating that the attack could have a lasting impact on the organization’s ability to regenerate.
Islamic State leader Qurayshi was allegedly concerned about a lack of fighting manpower over the past few months, according to intelligence collected by the US, Iraq, and an unknown European country. The United Nations estimates that the group still has roughly 6,000 fighters located across Iraq and Syria, where it is working to form cells and training operatives designed to prepare for attacks. However, with most of its fighters either in prison or hiding, much of its force consisted of women who escaped from Syria’s displacement camps for families.