Jubilation broke out in many neighbourhoods after ISIS militants lost control of Manbij to U.S.-backed rebels, and the Pentagon said the centre of the city was liberated.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces backed by the United States, has battled to take control of Manbij in northern Syria since May and hundreds have been freed in this latest mission, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Many can hardly believe they are finally rid of the Islamist militants’ rule. Dozens of women in black niqabs — the full-body coverings which are similar to burqas but leave the eyes exposed — were photographed being freed by the armed rebels, many of them carrying babies, overwhelmed and in tears. One woman was seen hugging an armed female Kurdish soldier.
Footage from Kurdistan 24 showed people cheering and dancing in the streets.
A man pointed to an outside area and described it as an ISIS execution site.
“Here they used to execute people and hung their heads here and leave it for three days. They would execute people for anything, using the excuse he did not believe,” he told Kurdistan 24.
A woman made the peace sign with both hands and she expressed her relief.
“Thank God we are happy my brother. Thank God we got rid of ISIS. May God hold them to account,” she said.