Women in Syria liberated from Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) control celebrate their newfound freedom by setting their face veils ablaze and smoking cigarettes, reveals video footage published by the Iraqi Kurdish news outlet Rudaw.
The video shows a group of gleeful women celebrating their freedom by stamping on their face veils before setting them on fire and smoking cigarettes.
“These people were under the control of [ISIS] who forced women to wear religious clothing, men were banned from smoking, children were not supposed to be playing and dancing in the street,” Julie Lenarz, director of Human Security Centre (HSC), told the Independent, referring to the Syrian women.
“These are women who would have worn a headscarf or Muslim clothing but not a full face veil, so they see it as a real liberation,” she added.
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reportedly liberated the women from an area around eastern Syria’s Deir Ezzor province.
SDF refers to an Arab-Kurdish alliance predominantly made up of fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that controls large swathes of northern Syria.
YPG troops are reportedly leading an operation in Deir Ezzor province as part of the U.S.-backed effort to recapture Raqqa, ISIS’s de-facto capital in Syria.
Footage of the liberated women comes as Turkish forces discovered a prison in the Syrian town of Al-Bab where ISIS held and tortured many women.
“Female prisoners were kept in cells just three feet wide, which were so cramped they could barely stretch out their arms,” reports the Daily Mail, citing video footage from inside the prison released by the Turkish military.
“The women had been captured and kept as sex slaves, housed like animals in the tiny windowless cells behind huge steel doors,” adds the news outlet. “The women endured inhumane conditions, as the militants forced them to live in darkness and regularly subjected to torture, rape, and beatings.”
Turkish forces and their allies are fighting to push ISIS out of al-Bab, considered the last remaining ISIS stronghold in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo.