ANKARA, November 17. /TASS/. Turkey has accused the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) of setting free more than 800 Islamic State militants in Syria.
"Turkey is the only partner of NATO and the international coalition against ISIS that fought alongside them and neutralized more than 4,000 ISIS members in Iraq and Syria. In turn, the Kurdistan Workers' Party and People's Protection Units released more than 800 ISIS prisoners in Tel Abyad alone," the Turkish Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.
Since the Peace Spring military operation was launched in northeast Syria (October 9) Ankara has been accusing Kurdish units of releasing ISIS militants incarcerated in local prisons. The YPG, in turn, blast back saying that extremists manage to escape after Turkish munitions land in prisons damaging them.
The New York Times in mid-October reported that a few hundred of radicals took advantage of chaos and panic surrounding the Turkish operation to escape a center of temporary detention in Syria. Around 700 family members of ISIS militants also escaped a camp for temporarily displaced persons in north Syria. The article also enlisted prisons and centers of temporary detention in the towns of Ayn Issa, Qobani, Al-Hasakah and Qamishli. The newspaper’s sources suggest that around 11,000 people were imprisoned there, including around 9,000 Syrians and Iraqis as well as approximately 2,000 people from around 50 countries that refused to repatriate them.
On October 9, Ankara launched a new military operation in northern Syria dubbed Peace Spring, which began with airstrikes on positions of Kurdish units. The objective is to create a buffer zone in northern Syria where Syrians refugees could return, Ankara claims. The buffer zone will also establish a security belt along the Turkish border. The Syrian SANA news agency branded the operation as aggression, while the international community condemned Ankara’s actions.