Syrian Kurds warn they may not have the resources to breakouts from Isis prisons
By Richard Hall
Oct. 11, 2019
In the days and weeks leading up to Turkey’s military offensive in Syria, the Kurdish militia set to be at the receiving end of the operation issued a stark warning to the international community: If we are attacked, Isis will return.
Not only would Isis take advantage of the security vacuum caused by Kurdish fighters leaving their posts to do battle with Turkey, they argued, but makeshift prisons holding thousands of Isis detainees would also be vulnerable to breakouts.
“We have more work to do to keep Isis from coming back,” Mustafa Bali, the spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), tweeted the day before the offensive began. “If America leaves, all will be erased.”
Now that the battle is underway, those fears have come closer to being realised.
The day after Turkey began its offensive in Syria, the SDF announced that it had halted anti-Isis operations entirely to defend the region from the incursion. US officials have also indicated that its resources in the country are being diverted away from operations against Isis and are instead being focused on “force protection”. In the meantime, the SDF said it had fought off a number of attacks by Isis sleeper cells, and expect to see many more.