Manbij in northern Aleppo freed from IS, women burn their burqas in celebration

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A girl walks with women who were evacuated by Syrian Democratic Forces fighters from the Isis-controlled city of Manbij, Syria. Photograph: Rodi Said/Reuters

Residents in the northern Syrian city of Manbij have been celebrating new freedoms after being liberated from the rule of so-called Islamic State.

They have poured into the streets enjoying basic rights they had been denied for two years, including shaving off their beards and smoking.

US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters fought 73 days to drive IS out of Manbij, close to the Turkish border.

About 2,000 civilians being used as human shields were also freed.

Reuters news agency spoke to a resident of Manbij who described a spot where people were beheaded. “For anything or using the excuse that he did not believe [in God], they put him and cut his head off.

“It is all injustice,” he said.

“I feel joy and [it is like a] dream I am dreaming. I cannot believe it, I cannot believe it. Things I saw no one saw,” a woman said screaming and fainting, according to Reuters.

Another woman thanked the fighters that had set them free: “You are our children, you are our heroes, you are the blood of our hearts, you are our eyes. Go out, Daesh [Arabic name for IS]!”

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