Prisoners Riot in Syria’s Hama Jail, Seize Guards Hostage: Monitoring Group

Prisoners Riot in Syria’s Hama Jail, Seize Guards Hostage: Monitoring Group
Tue May 3, 2016 10:05:44

Syrian government forces have encircled a prison in the western city of Hama and fired tear gas in response to a riot inside the facility by inmates, who took several guards hostage, a monitoring group says.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said prisoners were protesting on Monday against a planned transfer of five inmates from Hama to the Sednaya military prison in the capital Damascus.

Following the incident, a militant group operating near Hama said it was ready to shell government forces in the neighboring towns, the British-based observatory reported.

The so-called Ajnad al-Sham group said the prisoners had called on the militant group to "break the siege" by government troops.

Meanwhile, an official with Syria’s Interior Ministry denied "reports from some media about Hama central prison," state news agency SANA said.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly foreign-backed militancy for over five years. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond Syria’s borders, Press TV reported.

S/SH 11

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