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ALEPPO – Extremists of the Islamic State group (ISIS) on Tuesday kidnapped dozens of civilians after breaking into a number of Kurdish villages near al-Bab city in the northern countryside of Aleppo, northern Syria, activists and eyewitnesses reported.
ISIS militants stormed the villages of Shawa, Qaarkalbin, Tel Jarja, Sosinbat, Numan and Qabasin, and abducted more than 210 Kurdish civilians.
Eyewitnesses in the targeted villages near al-Bab told ARA News that ISIS members selected the houses inhabited by Kurdish families before breaking into them.
“They drove young people out of their homes, including men and women, and they moved them away by large trucks. We don’t know where they’ve been taken,” an eyewitness in Tel Jarja told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity. “ISIS fighters left behind the elderly and children, they only took the young and healthy boys and girls.”
“Most of the kidnapped were young men and some of them were women. We are concerned about their destiny, as the group may use them as human shields in its battles with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces,” Kurdish lawyer Omran Mansour told ARA News in Aleppo.
The Islamic State militants have been involved in heavy fighting with the SDF forces in the northern countryside of Aleppo for over a year, and most recently in Manbij, where the Kurdish-led SDF has repeatedly raised concerns about civilians used by ISIS as human shields during the battles. The SDF has recaptured over 105 villages and farms in the vicinity of Manbij in a two-week-operation, while ISIS remains stranded inside the city.
“ISIS extremists are now carrying out a revenge campaign against Kurds and other communities in northern Aleppo, accusing them of supporting the SDF,” Mansour said.
The Kurdish lawyer added that the kidnapped young men could be forced into the fighting against the SDF, while the women might be taken as sex slaves.
“We have seen this scenario before, especially with the Yezidi community at the hands of ISIS jihadis, and we would apparently see this over and over again as long as those terrorists exist in this region,” Mansour told ARA News.
ISIS Raping Women In Manbij Countryside
This comes just days after extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS) have raped dozens of Syrian women in the countryside of Manbij in the northern Aleppo province, according to local sources.
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.
Reporting by: Qehreman Miste and Heysem Haci
Source: ARA News