Life under ISIS: Testimonies from recently liberated city

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ARA News 

MANBIJ – The Syrian border city of Manbij, which has been liberated recently by the SDF, has witnessed tragic daily happenings and heavy atrocities against civilians at the hand of ISIS militants for years.

Speaking to ARA News, people of the city have expressed their joy after the liberation, especially after suffering brutal practices by ISIS and its extremist Islamic rules for over three years.

According to local sources, militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) used to “suppress the people of Manbij and treat them inhumanly”.

Eyewitnesses said that the group had deprived the civilians from their basic rights under the pretext that they refused to join jihad. “This is how ISIS used to force people into its alleged jihad,” an eyewitness told ARA News.

“We have suffered the most under the group’s rule here. We’ve seen the most horrible suppression ever,” said . On the day of Manbij liberation we all felt reborn,” said Khalaf Yousef, a citizen from Manbij. 

“Those extremists used to sexually harass the women, while they were trying to show off the behavior of good Muslims on the streets. They were trying to hide their real ugly face from the public, but their brutality was known to everyone in the city,” Yoousef told ARA News.

“ISIS had established a detention centre for women. Only God knows what they’ve been doing inside there. Our suffering under ISIS was indescribable,” he said.

The Islamic State had imposed its control over Manbij nearly three years ago. Most of the city’s residents evacuated their houses at that time, looking for a safe haven away fro ISIS. However, many others haven’t had the opportunity to escape, so they’ve been obliged to follow ISIS’s rules in order to survive.

Muhammad al-Abdullah, a citizen from Manbij who has witnessed ISIS atrocities repeatedly, told ARA News: “ISIS terrorists were showing us how they beheaded and slaughtered people. We were always terrified, especially in the night, I wasn’t able to sleep for what I’ve seen. Sometimes ISIS militants would even call on people to participate in executions.”

“We had no more education under ISIS, all schools were closed. Everyday there were public executions and crucifixions. They were stopping us on the street to question the way we dressed,,” he said. 

Yassir Hamadi, another citizen from Manbij, said: “We were suffering shortage of bread, they [ISIS] were preventing people from getting food and basic supplies. Many people were displaced. ISIS made us suffer.”

Speaking to ARA News, rights activist and citizen of Manbij Marea al-Ahmed said: “If you’re ill they would never let you visit a hospital or a doctor, claiming those working there are apostates.”

“We have been stranded inside Manbij. ISIS terrorists were obliging the people to eat from the garbage. They’ve used us as human shields. They used to gather the people around them in order to avoid airstrikes. And when you return home you find out that your house is mined. They’ve even placed explosives inside the mosques. Yesterday some people tried to clean the mosque of Manbij but the terrorists had placed explosives inside Quran books. Is this Islam?”

“Also, under ISIS bread was very expensive and barely available in Manbij. And anyone caught by ISIS while smoking would be mercilessly punished and forced to follow a Sharia course. Moreover, any woman caught violating the Sharia dress code would be brutally punished. We’ve documented a lot of such cases,” al-Ahmed said. 

Reporting by: Enwer Omar

Source: ARA News

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