Updated Oct 14, 2019

Turkish attack on Kurdish-held town allows 950 ISIS detainees to escape

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters fight in the border town of Ras al-Ain on Oct. 13. Photo: Nazeer Al-khatib/AFP/Getty Images

Syrian Kurdish officials on Sunday said clashes near Ain Issa, a key Kurdish-held town in northern Syria, allowed 950 Islamic State, or ISIS, supporters to escape from a camp for displaced people near a U.S.-led coalition base, AP reports.

Why it matters: One of the fears stemming from President Trump's withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria was that a Turkish assault would force Kurdish forces to desert the prison camps where about 12,000 ISIS fighters and their families are being held.

Details: The Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria said in a statement that the supporters escaped after they attacked camp guards and stormed the gates, per AP, which said it was not immediately possible to confirm the number of escapees.

What they're saying: A U.S. military official told AP that northeastern Syria was “deteriorating rapidly” and that U.S. troops on the ground are at risk of being “isolated” and of clashing with Turkey-backed Syrian forces.

  • The president addressed the prison break in a tweet Sunday evening, insisting the United States has "the worst of the ISIS prisoners."

Reality check: The New York Times noted earlier on Sunday that Trump's earlier claims that the U.S. "had already gotten the very worst ISIS detainees out of Syria" was "largely untrue" and "largely aspirational."

  • The United States had got out only 2 high-value detainees, the British militants El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey, who are in detention at a U.S. base in Iraq, the NYT notes.
  • Per a July report by The Atlantic, "Some 2,000 suspected fighters from dozens of countries, including hundreds from Europe, languish in Kurdish detention in northeastern Syria."

Go deeper ... James Mattis on Trump's Syria decision: ISIS will resurge

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's latest comments.

Go deeper

George Floyd updates

Thousands of protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge on June 4 in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All four former Minneapolis police officers have been charged for George Floyd’s death and are in custody, including Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The latest: Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday against President Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr and other federal officials on behalf of Black Lives Matter and other peaceful protesters who were forcibly removed with rubber bullets and chemical irritants before Trump's photo-op at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday.

The long journey to herd immunity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sought-after state of herd immunity — in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease — is complicated by open questions about the effectiveness of a future vaccine and how COVID-19 spreads.

Why it matters: Unless a sufficient level of immunity is achieved in the population, the coronavirus could circulate indefinitely and potentially flare up as future outbreaks.

Judge rules all three defendants in shooting of Ahmaud Arbery will stand trial

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A judge ruled on Thursday that all three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed in February Glynn County, Georgia, will stand trial, AP reports.

Why it matters: The video of Arbery's death was among several catalysts in the mass protests against racial injustice that have unfurled across the country and world over the past week and a half.