After years of occupation by ISIL and a bloody months-long siege, civilians in the Syrian city of Manbij are finally free.
Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced today, Aug. 12, that they had liberated the city’s last ISIL-held neighborhoods, reports the BBC. Reuters photographer Rodi Said has captured emotional photos of Manbij residents being evacuated: women flipping up their veils, men getting their beards cut, and huge smiles.
An SDF fighter comforts a civilian who was evacuated from an Islamic State-controlled neighborhood of Manbij.
The SDF is a coalition of rebel groups that includes the Kurdish militia YPG. Its assault on the strategic city began May 31 and was supported by US-led airstrikes. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 437 civilians have been killed, sparking concerns that US airstrikes targeted innocent people.
Manbij is strategically located in the north of Syria between the Turkish border, embattled Aleppo, and ISIL stronghold Raqqa. Aleppo’s 2 million citizens are reportedly facing a humanitarian disaster.
A woman embraces an SDF fighter.
Civilians celebrate after being evacuated.
An SDF fighter with civilians who were evacuated from an Islamic State-controlled neighborhood.
A civilian gets his beard trimmed after being evacuated by the SDF from an ISIL-controlled neighborhood in Manbij.
A woman sets fire to a niqab after being evacuated with others by the SDF.
A woman smokes as she rests after being evacuated.
A civilian carries a child as he is evacuated by SDF soldiers.
Smiles after being evacuated from an ISIL-controlled neighborhood of Manbij.
A woman reacts as she sits with a child after they were evacuated from an ISIL-controlled neighborhood.
SDF fighters chat with an injured civilian who was evacuated from an ISIL-controlled neighborhood of Manbij.
Syria Democratic Forces female fighters embrace each other on Aug. 10.