A Syrian woman has celebrated the liberation of her town from ISIS militants by tearing off her burqas and burning it.
The U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Friday they had seized full control of the town of Manbij near the Turkish border after the departure of the last of the extremists, who had been using civilians as human shields.
It prompted a huge outpouring of emotion among the local residents in the city, who lit cigarettes, with some men even cutting off their beards, which was banned under the rule of the terror group.
And one young girl was pictured grabbing the black burqa she was wearing and pulling it from her head to reveal her face, an act which would have seen her severely punished under ISIS.
Meanwhile another group of youngsters can been dancing around a burqa that has been discarded on the ground and left to burn.
The celebrations came as thousands of people displaced by the fighting with ISIS returned to Manbij after driving out the terror group.
Hundreds of cars and vehicles carrying families and their belongings flocked into the city from makeshift camps and villages in the countryside, where many of the city’s residents took shelter during the two-month campaign.
‘Thousands are coming back and shops are opening. Today is the first day life is returning to normal,’ said Sharfan Darwish, spokesman for the SDF-allied Manbij Military Council said, adding they were working to restore basic services.
Pro-SDF news sites showed jubilant families who had been trapped in the city during the fighting talking about how harsh life was under Islamic State and its imposition of strict dress codes in public.
The militants were finally ousted after a deal was reached on Friday that secured their departure together with some 2,000 civilians believed to have been their relatives, towards their stronghold of Jarablus near the border with Turkey, a Syrian from Manbij who is in touch with relatives there said.
The loss of Manbij, occupied by Islamic State since early 2014, is a big blow to the militants as it is of strategic importance, serving as a conduit for the transit of foreign jihadists and provisions from the Turkish border.
The operation, in which U.S. special forces played a significant role on the ground, marks the most ambitious advance by a group allied to Washington in Syria since the United States launched its military campaign against Islamic State two years ago.
14 August 2016