Tale of burning burqas and shaving beards: US-backed forces wrest control of Syria's Manjib [Photos]

Islamic State group jihadists have released hundreds of civilians they used as human shields while fleeing a crumbling stronghold in northern Syria, but the fate of others remained unknown Saturday

FP Staff August 14, 2016 12:47:24 IST
Islamic State released hundreds of civilians on Saturday that they had used as human shields while fleeing  the crumbling stronghold of Manbij in northern <span class="highlight">Syria</span>, but the fate of others remained unknown. Reuters
1/7
Islamic State released hundreds of civilians on Saturday that they had used as human shields while fleeing  the crumbling stronghold of Manbij in northern <span class="highlight">Syria</span>, but the fate of others remained unknown. Reuters
The last remaining Islamic State fighters abandoned Manbij, near the Turkish border, on Friday. The Pentagon said a rout showed the extremists were "on the ropes". The retreat from the city which Islamic State captured in 2014 was the jihadists' worst defeat yet at the hands of the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish alliance backed by the US air power. Reuters
2/7
The last remaining Islamic State fighters abandoned Manbij, near the Turkish border, on Friday. The Pentagon said a rout showed the extremists were "on the ropes". The retreat from the city which Islamic State captured in 2014 was the jihadists' worst defeat yet at the hands of the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish alliance backed by the US air power. Reuters
Kurdish television showed footage of jubilant civilians in Manbij, including smiling mothers who had shed their veils, and women embracing Kurdish fighters. One woman burned a black robe that the jihadists had forced residents to wear. Reuters
3/7
Kurdish television showed footage of jubilant civilians in Manbij, including smiling mothers who had shed their veils, and women embracing Kurdish fighters. One woman burned a black robe that the jihadists had forced residents to wear. Reuters
While the women folk set their black robes on fire, men who had lived for weeks under a shaving ban, cut their beards. Reuters
4/7
While the women folk set their black robes on fire, men who had lived for weeks under a shaving ban, cut their beards. Reuters
SDF fighters greet civilians who were evacuated by the SDF from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij. "The battle was very hard," a Kurdish source told <em>AFP</em>, adding the jihadists had laid mines in the city. "One SDF fighter entered a house on Friday and saw a shoe placed on a Quran. When he removed it there was an explosion and he was killed," the source said. Reuters
5/7
SDF fighters greet civilians who were evacuated by the SDF from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij. "The battle was very hard," a Kurdish source told <em>AFP</em>, adding the jihadists had laid mines in the city. "One SDF fighter entered a house on Friday and saw a shoe placed on a Quran. When he removed it there was an explosion and he was killed," the source said. Reuters
A woman smokes as she rests after she was evacuated by the SDF fighters .  <em>AFP</em> footage showed the city's streets strewn with rubble and a wall still painted with the jihadists' black and white flag. Reuters
6/7
A woman smokes as she rests after she was evacuated by the SDF fighters .  <em>AFP</em> footage showed the city's streets strewn with rubble and a wall still painted with the jihadists' black and white flag. Reuters
A woman sits with her child after they were evacuated by the SDF fighters from Manbij.  "Among the civilians taken by Islamic State there were people used as human shields but also many who chose voluntarily to leave the town due to fear of reprisals" by the SDF, observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said. Reuters
7/7
A woman sits with her child after they were evacuated by the SDF fighters from Manbij.  "Among the civilians taken by Islamic State there were people used as human shields but also many who chose voluntarily to leave the town due to fear of reprisals" by the SDF, observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said. Reuters