Woman smokes in Manbij.
Woman smokes in Manbij. Reuters

There are celebrations in the streets of Manbij, in northern Syria, after it was freed from the rule of ISIS by US backed Kurdish and Arab fighters.

Women have been ripping off their burqas and burning them, and smoking cigarettes, while men cut off their beards. These actions were illegal under ISIS.

Embraces and kisses, laughter and tears of joy were reported visible on Manbij’s streets.

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 lasted 73 days, displacing nearly 100,000 civilians and left more than 400 dead.

The operation to liberate the city was launched in late May, but was slowed by the jihadists’ use of civilians as human shields.

Manbij was of great strategic and symbolic importance to ISIS.

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."