Fears for 100 children missing from Syria jail attacked by ISIS

UN 'extremely concerned' over children's whereabouts since January attack

Syria Democratic Forces fighters at Ghwayran prison, north-eastern Syria on January 26, a week after ISIS fighters attacked it. EPA
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More than 100 children who had been held in a Syrian prison are missing more than two months after militants attacked it, the UN said on Friday

International rights groups including Save the Children and Human Rights Watch said 700 boys were in the Kurdish-run Ghwayran prison in north-eastern Hassakeh province before it was attacked by ISIS.

The boys, aged 12 to 18, included many who had adult relatives inside the prison and were transferred from nearby displacement camps housing thousands of children of fighters.

“We are extremely concerned that since the January 2022 attack, the fate and whereabouts of at least 100 of those boys remain unaccounted for, which raises serious concerns,” the UN said.

“Some of these cases might amount to enforced disappearance.”

Independent experts called on the authorities to allow humanitarian workers to have full access to children still held at Ghwayran.

“Harm to these children must be identified, and those responsible must be held accountable to prevent impunity,” the UN experts said.

The ISIS prison break attempt from Ghwayran led to a week of clashes inside and around the Kurdish-run jail, leaving hundreds dead, before Kurdish-led forces recaptured the jail.

US-backed Kurdish forces gain control of prison one week after ISIS assault

US-backed Kurdish forces gain control of prison one week after ISIS assault

“Many of the boys detained in the prisons were seriously injured during the jail break and their wounds are not receiving critical medical treatment,” the UN said.

Kurdish authorities say no one escaped but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said several extremists had fled.

Updated: April 01, 2022, 11:46 AM