Kurdish YPG forces and their Syrian rebel allies have gained control of Tal Abyad from the Islamic State, the Associated Press reports. The city was strategically important to ISIS, being a crucial supply line for their headquarters in nearby Raqqa.
Word of the victory began spreading on Twitter yesterday evening when pictures of the victorious fighters were shared.
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) June 15, 2015
The victory was later confirmed by Redur Xelil, spokesperson of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).”It’s now under complete control,” he says. YPG soldiers and their allies are currently clearing the city of booby traps and mines left by the Islamic State before allowing civilians to return.
Sherfan Darwish, spokesperson for the rebel group Burkan al-Furat, stated:
“There are mines and car bombs everywhere, and bodies of IS fighters lying in the streets,”
Despite recent attempts to change their image, the work of brave activists reveal life under the Islamic State’s theocratic government as one of constant fear and strict adherence to the group’s fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. But with ISIS finally removed from Tal Abyad, the long process of rebuilding can begin.
Soon after confirmation of the victory, the hashtag #TwitterKurds became awash with celebration.
— A Dunon (@4rj1n) June 16, 2015
One user mocked the huge ISIS flag intended for the recently recaptured city of Kobanî, contrasting it with the YPG flag now proudly waving in Tal Abyad.
The ongoing conflict in Syria highlights social media’s powerful new role in world affairs. The massive mobilization of political dissidents known as the Arab Spring began with the sharing of anti-government sentiments online. Twitter, in particular, played a large role in the Middle Eastern revolutions. Unfortunately for Syria, overthrowing dictator Bashar al-Assad would prove to be more difficult than the ousting of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, sparking a civil war that would expose the region to another totalitarian threat far worse than the Assad regime, the militant Islamic organization known as ISIS, ISIL, or IS.
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