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Photos: Syrian civilians celebrate with hugs, kisses, and lifted veils after their city’s liberation from ISIL by Caitlin Hu

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.

A Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter comforts a civilian who was evacuated with others by the SDF from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSMZ59

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 a Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter after she was evacuated with others by the SDF from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTSMZ6D

A woman embraces an SDF fighter.

Civilians react after they were evacuated by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTSMZDH

Civilians celebrate after being evacuated.

A Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter helps civilians who were evacuated by the SDF from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTSMZE7

An SDF fighter with civilians who were evacuated from an Islamic State-controlled neighborhood.

A man cuts the beard of a civilian who was evacuated with others by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTSMZEB

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 she was evacuated with others by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTSMZF4

A woman sets fire to a niqab after being evacuated with others by the SDF.

A woman smokes as she rests after she was evacuated with others by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTSMZN0

A woman smokes as she rests after being evacuated.

A civilian carries a child as he walks with others after they were evacuated by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTSMZN4

A civilian carries a child as he is evacuated by SDF soldiers.

A girl reacts while walking with women after they were evacuated with others by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTSMZO3

Smiles after being evacuated from an ISIL-controlled neighborhood of Manbij.

A woman reacts as she sits with a child after they were evacuated with others by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTSMZO5

A woman reacts as she sits with a child after they were evacuated from an ISIL-controlled neighborhood.

Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters chat with an injured civilian who was evacuated with others by the SDF from an Islamic State-controlled neighbourhood of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 12, 2016. The SDF has said Islamic State was using civilians as human shields. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RTSMZO9

SDF fighters chat with an injured civilian who was evacuated from an ISIL-controlled neighborhood of Manbij.

Syria: Liberation of Manbij from ISIS by the Syrian Democratic Forces

Syria Democratic Forces female fighters embrace each other on Aug. 10.

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