Women ripped off their black burqas and defiantly smoked cigarettes, while the men cut their beards as they gave the peace sign.
After two years living under the Islamic State, the last-remaining residents of the northern Syrian city of Manbij could not quite believe it when the US-backed forces arrived to rescue them.
“Why did you take so long?” sobbed one woman, who had been trapped in her basement for a week along with her two daughters and elderly father after Isil threatened to kill anyone who tried to escape.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared the city fully liberated on Friday, saying they were “starting a new history after closing the book of darkness”.
The battle, which has displaced nearly 100,000 civilians and left more than 400 dead, proved to be the fiercest of all the offensives to dismantle the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate across Syria and Iraq.
The operation to liberate the city, which was launched in late May, was significantly slowed by the jihadists’ use of civilians as human shields, forcing troops to clear the city house by house.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: The Telegraph, Josie Ensor