James Jeffrey, the US special representative for Syria engagement and global head of the coalition to defeat Daesh*, has stated that about 100 Daesh prisoners have escaped detention since the beginning of Turkey’s military operation in Syria’s northeast earlier this month.
“We would say that the number is now over 100. We do not know where they are”, Jeffrey told Congress on Wednesday.
He described Daesh detainees as those who are “among the most dangerous fighters, intent on attacking the United States and its allies,” and questioned whether the US is able “to monitor or effectively operate against ISIS, given the withdrawal of US forces [from Syria]”.
Earlier, Pentagon chief Mark Esper slammed Turkey’s “unacceptable incursion” which he claimed “undermined the successful multinational ‘Defeat ISIS’ mission in Syria, and resulted in the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his part, wrote in last week’s article published by The Wall Street Journal that Ankara “will ensure that no ISIS fighters leave northeastern Syria.”
He also slammed “the same countries that lecture Turkey on the virtues of combating ISIS today” and that “failed to stem the influx of foreign terrorist fighters in 2014 and 2015.