Freedom at last: Men shave as women burn burqas

The man grins as his beard is cut off (Image: YPG Press Office)
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Women are burning their burqas and men shaving off their beards in a show of defiance against ISIS after escaping from the terrorist group’s stronghold in Syria.

Civilians in Raqqa tore off their traditional dress and set it alight after being liberated from the city on Thursday.

And some of the men immediately began shaving off their facial hair in a move to ‘spite’ Islamic State.

Strict dress codes were implemented by ISIS, requiring women to wear long, black robes over their dresses and cover their faces almost entirely with black burqas.

One woman, who had exposed her face, refusing to wear the veil, said: “They killed my son because he wouldn’t pray.

“They didn’t allow us to take his body for a whole week.”

Women hug as they celebrate their liberation (Image: YPG Press Office)
Women have been setting their burqas alight (Image: YPG Press Office)

One man, who was having his beard trimmed by a barber said defiantly: “Cut it all off, cut it all of to spite ISIS.”

He then smiles as his hairdresser nods in agreement.

Islamic State has now been defeated in its main stronghold in the Iraqi city of Mosul and is under pressure in its base in the Syrian city of Raqqa .

Yesterday, Syrian warplanes carried out air strikes against Islamic State in an area of countryside east of Raqqa and close to where US-backed forces operate, Syrian state TV reported, citing a military source.

The attacks in the town of Maadan and village of Bir al-Sabkhawi, near the provincial boundary with Deir al-Zor governorate, “destroyed several bases and vehicles” belonging to the Islamist group, the source said.

Civilians were distraught after losing family members at the hands of the terror group (Image: YPG Press Office)
A man has his beard trimmed by a barber (Image: YPG Press Office)

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said it was the first time in several weeks that the Syrian military had launched an attack in that area.

The Syrian army has active front lines with Islamic State in Raqqa’s western countryside, where it has recaptured territory from the jihadists.

But air strikes in the east take the fight closer to where the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance dominated by Kurdish fighters, are operating.

The SDF launched a final assault to drive Islamic State out of its stronghold of Raqqa city last month, and have spearheaded efforts against the group in Syria’s northeast.

The Syrian army backed by Russian warplanes is separately fighting the jihadists further west, but has also carried out air raids in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor provinces.

The SDF accused Syrian government forces of bombing their positions in June, one of several incidents that raised tension between the United States on one side and Syria and Russia on the other.

It was not immediately clear how close Saturday’s air strikes came to SDF positions, but they were within kilometres (miles) of SDF-controlled territory.

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