A massive operation by the Islamic State (IS) group to free thousands of the terror group’s fighters from a prison in northern Syria is over, more than six days after the attack plunged the facility and surrounding neighbourhoods into chaos. But new revelations have emerged about hundreds of children who were jailed at the facility. FRANCE 24's terrorism specialist Wassim Nasr explains in this exclusive report.
US-backed Kurdish-led forces eventually repelled the IS group assault on the Ghwayran jail in the Syrian city of Hasakeh, but the audio testimony of a teenage prisoner sheds light on the plight of children who were held at the jail.
FRANCE 24’s terrorism expert Wassim Nasr obtained exclusive audio testimony from an Australian teenager speaking during the first hours of the fight to retake the prison.
“I’m 17 years old, I need help. We’re getting hit from every side, from the Kurds, we’re getting hit by planes. It’s very hard here. I’m very scared, I'm seeing a lot of bodies of kids,” said the boy.
The recordings, which Nasr obtained from the non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch, point to the plight of children who were detained during IS group's last stand in 2019.
“They were very young, but not young enough to go to refugee camps with their mothers in northern Syria,” Nasr explains.
Seven hundred boys were detained at the Ghwayran jail, Nasr said.
Human Rights Watch Associate Director Letta Tayler said that the boys should be treated as victims of the Islamic State.
“Instead, all of these children are being considered criminals, regardless of whether they chose to live under [IS group],” Tayler said.
Click on the player to watch the exclusive report.