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Hundreds of Isis supporters escape as Turkey continues offensive

HUNDREDS of Isis supporters and family members have escaped a camp in northern Syria as Turkish troops continued their offensive in the Kurdish region.

Turkish troops and their allies took over the towns of Hassakeh and Ain Eissa, where a camp is home to thousands of displaced people including around 1,000 wives and widows of Isis fighters and their children.

But reports suggested the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had come to an agreement with the Syrian and Russian governments for them to send troops to defend Kobane and Manbij from Turkish assault.

Kurdish administrators in the region said at least 800 Isis supporters escaped after attacking the guards and storming the gates. The camp is “now without guards.”

The SDF had driven extremists from most of the region but is warning that it cannot maintain its detention centres as it struggles to repel the Turkish offensive.

SDF senior official Redur Xelil said guarding the 12,000 Isis prisoners in seven prisons no longer remained a priority and instead they would be forced to “move to protect our cities and our people.”

He warned that the Turkish operation was opening the way for Isis to regroup.

The Islamist group claimed a recent car bombing as its own and declared a new campaign in Syria on Saturday, promising to avenge its members’ detention in Kurdish-run prisons.

The Turkish government vowed to carve a “safe zone” reaching 30 kilometres (19 miles) along the border to rid the area of what it claims are Kurdish terrorists after US President Donald Trump withdrew troops.

Turkey’s Defence Ministry said the military had also taken control of Ras al-Ayn’s residential centre, despite mounting international criticism of its actions.

SDF disputed the claims by releasing videos of them inside one of the biggest towns in the area yesterday.

Arab tribe elders in the region showed support for the Kurdish forces and said in a joint statement that they are willing to provide 50,000 fighters against the Turkish “occupiers.”

More than 13,000 Syrians have fled since Turkey’s operation began six days ago, according to the United Nations.

At least 50 civilians have been killed through ground assaults and air strikes so far on both sides of the border, as clashes spilled across to the Turkish towns of Akcakale and Suruc.

The SDF called on the US to carry out its “moral responsibilities” and close northern Syrian airspace to Turkish warplanes.


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