Friday, August 12 – When the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) freed the Syrian city of Manbij from ISIS control, women celebrated by letting their faces be seen and burning the dreaded niqab. It’s the first time in 2 years that these women could feel free of the ISIS religious police that brought humiliation and torture into their lives.
According to the Telegraph,
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared the city fully liberated on Friday, saying they were “starting a new history after closing the book of darkness”.
The battle, which has displaced nearly 100,000 civilians and left more than 400 dead, proved to be the fiercest of all the offensives to dismantle the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate across Syria and Iraq.
The operation to liberate the city, which was launched in late May, was significantly slowed by the jihadists’ use of civilians as human shields, forcing troops to clear the city house by house.
Fear keeps people under control
ISIS is all about fear in order to maintain control. They were equal opportunity torturers. A woman went into a store with her eyes showing and the religious police took her to the “Hasba” a place of prison and torture. She refused to show ID, so they beat her with a pipe. They also brought in the shop owner and punished him as well.
But freedom came on Friday
People poured into the streets, flush with the new found freedom that relieved the suffering they had been under for 2 long years.
Even the men of Manbij celebrated by cutting off the long beards they had been forced to wear by the radical Islamists. For men, even the wearing pants that are too long can result in forced attendant at Sharia classes. Smoking can cause their fingers t be amputated.
Some women defiantly smoked a cigarette – something forbidden by the Islamic hardliners.
The battle for Manbij
The SDF fought hard to get headway in removing ISIS from the city. The battle began in May- the SDF declared the city liberated on Friday.
“It was like nothing I’ve experienced before. There was constant gunfire and shelling, and I mean 24/7, night and day. You couldn’t travel more than 10 yards without a sniper trying to take a shot at you. Unlike their other strongholds, in Manbij they did not run away. They’ve had years to prepare for this fight and they’ve stockpiled massive amounts of weapons and rounds.” ‘Gifford’ a British fighter with SDF
The Manbij battle was known for ‘Daesh’ using people as human shields, making it extremely difficult to tell who was a civilian resident and who was a terrorist.
US coalition airstrikes helped the fighters push into the city.
The SDF is a coalition of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, Turkmen and Circassian militias, according to the Daily Mail. The around 2,000 people used as human shields in the fight were also freed when US-backed forces were able to get into the city.
“You are our children, you are our heroes, you are the blood of our hearts, you are our eyes. Go out, Daesh [Arabic name for IS]!” Woman to the SDF as they arrived.