An image purporting to show an anti-ISIS protest in Manbij, Aleppo. (Facebook/Manbij News Press)
Lebanon’s Now. reports:
BEIRUT – Residents of Syria’s northern Manbij have held an unprecedented set of protests against ISIS’ draconian policies in the Aleppo town, according to activists.
A popular pro-rebel Facebook page reporting on events in Manbij and Syria in general said that several small protest gatherings had taken place in the town on Thursday and posted what it said were pictures of the unusual event.
“In response to the oppressive practices of ISIS against residents of the city of Manbij… tens of citizens came out to criticize the group last Thursday afternoon and called on it to leave the city,” Manbij Mubasher reported on Sunday.
“Demonstrations took place on the Jarablus road and several streets [in the city] in the form of small gatherings, which the group met with gunfire and arrests.”
The post also went into detail on the alleged situation in the town—which was first seized by ISIS in January 2014—outlining some of the factors that have raised the ire of locals.
“The group has prevented residents from traveling and killed a number of citizens on various charges.”
“It has also taken away a number of the city’s sons on the pretext of [enrolling them in] sharia courses only for their families to discover later that they were killed in Kweiris and northern rural Aleppo after being forced to fight by the group.”
“The city is seeing an unprecedented state of popular unrest.”
The Facebook page also uploaded two pictures purporting to show the Thursday protests, while activist media in Syria claimed the demonstrations continued over the weekend.
Pro-opposition outlet 7al.me reported that a protest calling for ISIS to leave Manbij had taken place on Saturday.
Citing a media source from the city, 7al.me said the protest had taken place after “major harassment of civilians and the continual arrest of men and women.”
Activist Abu Yaman al-Halabi, who told the outlet he had taken part in the demonstration, said that it had been “the second of its kind this week.”
“[The demonstration’s] main goal was to make [ISIS] leave the city using peaceful means. It was organized by civilians after the huge repression they have been subjected to by the group.”
“Two of the demonstrators were arrested while the rest took flight yesterday after the protest was fired upon by the group in the city’s northern streets.”
“There is great unrest among civilians in the city; this is the result of major harassment and arbitrary detentions, of women in particular and men in general, and the many cases where innocent civilians have been executed.”
In turn, the Syrian Kurdish ANHA News Agency cited a source from inside Manbij as saying that arbitrary detention of women had sparked the protest on Saturday.
“In recent days, ISIS mercenaries have begun kidnapping Kurdish and Arab women in the city on the pretext that their husbands support the Free Syrian Army,” the agency, which is affiliated to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units forces (YPG) fighting ISIS, reported.
“Two days ago, Manbij locals took part in a demonstration criticizing the practices by ISIS’s mercenaries against the city’s women, but the mercenaries attacked the demonstrators with live bullets, killing several civilians, injuring tens and kidnapping a number of men.”
“ISIS’s mercenaries have continued to kidnap women in the city.”