Syrian women tear off black garbs as they flee ISIS territory

Syrian women tear off black garbs as they flee ISIS territory


“Freedom portrait.”

That’s how local photojournalist Jack Shahine described images of woman fleeing Islamic State-controlled areas of northern Syria, while tearing off the black garbs required by the extremist group, as they fled.

The women pulled off the all-black covering as they reached Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria, according to Shahine, revealing colorful dresses underneath.

The photos were first posted by Kobani-based Shahine, who has been documenting Syrians crossing from areas captured by ISIS militants into Turkish- and Kurdish-controlled areas, in recent weeks. He tweeted that the photos were taken by a friend who also spoke to the women. Of the two who were removing their black garbs, one is Arabic, and the other is Kurdish, Shahine said.

The photos were taken west of Tal Abyad, known to the Kurdish as Girê Sipî, which has been under ISIS control since last year, according to Shahine. It is one of a few Turkish border crossings still ruled by the extremist group.

The Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) have intensified their offensive against ISIS in recent days, according to local report. The women in the photos are among thousand of civilians who fled the area, as clashes between ISIS and Kurdish forces intensify in Tal Abyad.

ISIS militants follow an extremist interpretation of Islam, which requires women to cover themselves from head to toe in black headscarves, veils and dresses.

While it’s unclear exactly when the photos were taken, the woman in the green dress appears in several other images from northern Syria. She is standing in a packed white truck with several other women and children, their arms held triumphantly in the air.

A Kurdish activist group from the area posted the following photo on Thursday, but it appears to have been taken earlier in the week.