MANBIJ, Syria (Kurdistan24) - Authorities of the Syrian northern town of Manbij released dozens of the Islamic State (IS) prisoners on Tuesday under an amnesty decree.
On the occasion of the Kurdish New Year (Newroz), the Public Relations Office of the Manbij Military Council (MMC) released 22 prisoners who worked with IS when it captured the town about three years ago.
Manbij Military Council (MMC) is part of the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which liberated Manbij from IS last August.
The released prisoners were local people who worked with IS in Manbij and were arrested when the SDF and their allies retook the town.
"Many of the prisoners worked with IS officially and others out of fear and for other reasons," said an MMC officer.
"We agreed with the community leaders of the Manbij area to issue an amnesty for the prisoners. The amnesty included 22 prisoners," he said.
A released prisoner told Kurdistan24 he worked in some IS institutions for a month and a half and later surrendered to the MMC.
"I was sentenced to prison for one year, but I was released after nine months under an amnesty for Newroz," he said.
During the three-year period of IS' ruling of Manbij, many locals joined the insurgent group, some by their will and others forcibly.
The SDF and their allied coalition of MMC fighters launched the Manbij operation on May 31, 2016 and liberated the town fully in last August after a two-month battle.
However, the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels launched an operation, dubbed Euphrates Shield, on Syria's northern areas of Jarabulus and al-Bab last August to fight IS, but in the meantime attacked Manbij's liberated areas many times.
A few weeks ago, the area between Manbij and al-Bab witnessed heavy fighting between the MMC and the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels.
The rebels stopped their attacks on Manbij after the Syrian army controlled those areas.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Additional reporting by Kurdistan24 correspondent Redwan Bezar)