For the first time in over two-and-a-half years, the women of Manbij, Syria walked with their faces uncovered Saturday, some of them even setting their niqabs on fire. Men shaved or trimmed their beards. Smokers of both sexes lit up and puffed away.
U.S.-backed fighters seized the key northern Syria city late Friday after two months of heavy fighting that killed more than 1,000 people and displaced thousands more. The fighters also freed hundreds of civilians the extremists had used as human shields, Syrian Kurdish officials and an opposition activist group said.
Amateur videos showed civilians hugging fighters from the predominently Kurdish Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) after being evacuated from the final ISIS-held neighborhood.
“May God destroy them. They slaughtered us,” a young man shouted in a Manbij square. “May they not live for a minute.”
In a photo posted online by Kurdish activists, a young woman defiantly uncovered her face while smoking a cigarette and flashing a victory sign.
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