Syrian Kurdish forces say they’re ramping up security in prisons and detention facilities where ISIS militants are being held amid concerns about possible riots or attacks in the wake of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death.
The reported changes Monday come after the former ISIS leader was killed in a U.S.-led raid in northwest Syria over the weekend.
A Kurdish official told the Associated Press that forces are now “on high alert” in anticipation of possible riots or attacks on the guards in the prisons and displaced people camps they control in northeastern Syria.
This image made from a video posted on a militant website in April 2019 purportedly shows former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
One of the camps is home to 70,000 people, mostly ISIS family members, the Associated Press reported. Overall, the Kurds are estimated to be holding around 12,000 militants captured in the war against the terrorist group.
There was already fear of chaos over the fate of those detained in the wake of Turkish operations in northeastern Syria, which ushered in major troop changes in the area. Turkey moved in troops in regions along the border while Syrian border guards and Russian forces were deploying in others.
Last week, President Trump’s Special Representative for Syria Engagement revealed 100 ISIS prisoners had broken out — far fewer than the mass escapes feared when Turkey’s military operations began.
The European Union is also warning this week that, although al-Baghdadi’s death is a major blow to the terrorist group, they still remain a threat.
“We must remain extremely vigilant to mitigate the risk it poses,” EU commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.