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US-backed Syrian fighters searching for Islamic State militants near prison

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish-led fighters backed by the United States, searched Friday for Islamic State militants near a Syrian prison, reports The Associated Press.

Some militants surrendered Friday morning, while the rest are hiding in a section of the prison, said SDF spokesman Siamand Ali. In total, 3,000 fighters have surrendered in the past three days.

The Islamic State attacked the Syrian prison, located in Hassakeh, on Jan. 20, in its largest military operation since falling from power in 2019. The attack occurred in the midst of multiple other attacks by the group.

Thousands of Syrians in Hassakeh have been displaced due to conflict in the city. The city’s leadership instated a curfew and closed off movement across Hassakeh’s borders, according to the AP.

The SDF regained control of the prison after a week of conflict, resulting in kidnappings and the deaths of dozens. Dozens of militants remain in the prison, however.

More than 260 people may have been killed in the conflict, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. This includes about 180 Islamic State fighters, 73 SDF fighters and seven civilians.

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