At least 129 killed in days of prison break clashes in Syria

Intense fighting is taking place in north-eastern Syria after Islamic State (IS) fighters tried to break inmates out of a Kurdish-run prison.

Kurdish-led forces backed by US air strikes have been battling militants in the city of Hasaka since Thursday.

The assault on Ghwayran prison is one of the group’s most ambitious since its defeat in Syria nearly three years ago.

The overcrowded site houses 3,500 suspected IS members including some of its leaders, a monitoring group says.

Hundreds of jihadists have been recaptured since the breakout, but some are still on the run, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Kurdish security forces have surrounded the prison and are fighting for control of nearby neighbourhoods. Residents have been fleeing their homes.

The Syrian Observatory says “at least 84 IS members and 45 Kurdish fighters, including internal security forces, prison guards and counter-terrorism forces, have been killed” in violence inside and outside the prison since the start of the attack.

Seven civilians have also been killed in the fighting, according to figures quoted by AFP news agency.

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have taken control of much of the area and the prison, except some cell blocks where jihadists have refused to surrender, the Observatory reportedly added.

The Pentagon has confirmed the US-led coalition carried out air strikes.

State Department spokesman Ned Price praised the “capable efforts” of the SDF and said IS had been attempting to release militants from the prison for the past year.

Thousands of IS fighters from more than 50 countries are being held in Kurdish-run prisons in north-eastern Syria.