Aisha al-Shindi, an escapee, said that ISIS had detained many women and causing family breakups.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Hundreds of families, many of them women have escaped the Islamic State (ISIS)-held Manbij in the last few days and sought shelter in areas under Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), reporting hardship and punishment by the extremist group against civilians.
"They would not allow us work,” said Aisha al-Shindi, claiming that the group had detained many women and causing family breakups.
“If we wanted to go to the Bazaar, we would have to cover our faces. We were living in miserable conditions and nobody would dare go against their orders,"
Fatima Ali, another escapee, said that endless ISIS rules had made it impossible for families to function normally including a mother’s relationship with her children.
"We were not able to go to the Bazaar and buy necessities for our homes,” she recalled. “They had imprisoned women at home. If our children went outdoors we were not able to bring them back. If we did not cover our face while going outside, we would be lashed."
The SDF is in the midst of an ongoing offensive against ISIS for capture of Manbij, aiming to cut off the group from Syria’s northwestern border with Turkey.
The United Nation has warned that Manbij refugees are expected to increase from 20,000 to more than 200,000 due to battles and bombardment by US led coalition and SDF forces.
According to Yassamin Darwish , economic hardship and high prices of daily needs was commonplace under ISIS control and "We had to buy everything we need in dollar, it was very difficult to make it,"
"It was prohibited for women to get out. We had to decide either to stay home or go out and get lashed. They were taking our men and chopping off their hands." Darwish said.
Since the Manbij operation has begun last week, everyday new villages are liberated from ISIS, and its people recall bitter stories they have witnessed under ISIS
SDF leaders claim that they have captured at least 23 villages from ISIS around Manbij since the start of their operations last week.
With a population of 80,000, Manbij is regarded as a strategic town in the northwest corner of Syria located between Aleppo in the south and Jarablus in the north.
The city is some 50 kilometers from the Kurdish town of Kobani and if retaken from ISIS, it would bring the two cantons of Kobani and Afrin closer.
The Manbij offensive goes parallel to another SDF operation against ISIS in its capital of Raqqa.