Syrian women are burning niqabs after being liberated from Isis

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Tuesday 02 August 2016 11:00
news

Around 70 per cent of the Syrian city of Manbij has been wrested back from Isis control after a sustained offensive by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the last few days.

Isis soldiers had been forced to retreat into the city's old quarter, thanks to the ground efforts of the SDF banner forces of majority Kurdish fighters, helped by US coalition air strikes, Reuters reported.

While thousands of civilians are thought to have fled in the fighting, and there are worries for their safety while the coalition airstrikes continue, there has been at least some relief for the city's long-suffering inhabitants.

Kurdish TV news video reportedly filmed in Manbij over the weekend has emerged which shows SDF members explaining their offensive has successfully liberated around 3,000 people.


Many Arab women in Syria choose to wear the hijab, which covers the hair, but Isis forces women in its territories to wear the full-body niqab instead.

Joyful women and girls in the town are also seen burning the black cloth they were made to wear under threat of punishment.

Clapping and cheering, they gather around a woman who sets fire to a niqab with a lighter, before others join in:

The SDF managed to encircle Manbij and free outlying villages in June. Images of women throwing off their niqabs then resonated around the world:

Picture: Radi Saad/Reuters

Isis' caliphate is rapidly losing territory in both Syria and Iraq.

While the group is far from defeated, retaking Manbij, which is only 40km away from Turkey, would impede the group's ability to ferry supplies and fighters over the border.

More: The heartbreaking message from the people of eastern Aleppo

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