Prisoners from Iraq and Syria, suspected of being part of the Islamic State, spend time in the prison's grounds in Hasaka,…
FILE - Prisoners from Iraq and Syria, suspected of being part of the Islamic State, spend time in the prison's grounds in Hasaka, Syria, January 11, 2020.

U.S.-backed Kurdish forces searched for an unknown number of prisoners who escaped Sunday from a prison in northeastern Syria. 

Goiran prison in al-Hasak province is one of several where the Syrian Democratic Forces are holding thousands of Islamic State fighters after playing a key role in ousting the militant group. 

Rubar Hussein, an SDF commander and the head of the prison, said a group of militants rioted, destroying security cameras, breaking doors and taking control of one of the floors of the prison. 

He said search efforts were ongoing to find the prisoners who escaped. 

The U.S.-led coalition said it was helping the SDF with aerial surveillance at the site, and identified the prison population as “low-level ISIS members.” 

Among the militants the SDF is holding in its prisons are an estimated 2,000 fighters who traveled to Syria from other countries.  The SDF has sought help from those nations to take back their nationals. 

“This problem is all countries’ problem,” Hussein said.  “While these prisoners are here with us, many countries have turned their back on us and they do not help us.  We hope that we get help as we were promised.” 

Kurdish Service stringer Zana Omar contributed to this report.