ALEPPO – Extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS) have raped dozens of Syrian women in the countryside of Manbij in the northern Aleppo province, local sources and activists reported on Monday.
Before their withdrawal from the countryside of Manbij under heavy bombardment by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), ISIS jihadis broke into civilians’ houses in dozens of villages around Manbij, killing the men and raping the women.
“Over more than two years of their control over Manbij, ISIS jihadis were generally careful with their behaviour towards the people in a bid to gain popular support. However, since the SDF troops started their campaign and made gains against the Islamic State, the group’s members in Manbij started punishing civilians collectively after accusing them of supporting the US-backed SDF,” media activist Nassir Taljbini told ARA News in Manbij.
“They have killed hundreds of men and raped dozens of women in the past few days, especially in the western countryside of Manbij, before withdrawing from most of the villages there,” Taljbini reported.
One of the victims who spoke to ARA News under the name Um Mohamed said that ISIS militants broke into their house, killed her husband and raped her and her two daughters. “They entered the house like barbarians. They shot my husband and raped me and my daughters. We’re still in shock after what happened. I have nothing to say to describe it… a nightmare,” she said.
Eyewitnesses told ARA News that ISIS militants also burned a number of houses in Manbij western villages before withdrawing.
“It was like an act of revenge against the people of the area,” a villager of Oum Mayyal said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Syrian Democratic Forces have liberated about 90 villages in Manbij countryside over the past weeks. The fighting has now moved to the city of Manbij, the last stronghold of ISIS in the district.