Curfew extended following anti-draft protests in SDF-held Manbij  

The Sanitary Workers Roundabout, central Manbij (North Press)

The Sanitary Workers Roundabout, central Manbij (North Press)

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The Democratic Civil Administration for Manbij City and its Countryside extended the curfew it imposed Tuesday in Manbij city, northeastern Aleppo.

The administration published a statement today, saying that the curfew will continue for 48 hours, starting from 1:00 AM, exempting certain cases for humanitarian considerations.

On Tuesday, the administration imposed a 48-hour-curfew in response to rising tension in the city. Fire was set to checkpoints and centers of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in some of the area’s villages.

The SDF was forced into deactivating the mandatory conscription law, called the Duty of Self Defense, in Manbij city. The SDF also referred the draft law to relevant bodies for consideration.

The SDF made the decision to stop working by the draft law following a large-scale meeting between Manbij’s tribes and the SDF-affiliated Manbij Military Council on Wednesday, 2 June. According to the local news network Euphrates Post, the meeting was held on the heels of sweeping protests in the city that caused the death of a number of people and the injury of many others. Deaths were caused by SDF fire.

Quoting local security and medical sources, Reuters reported that eight persons were killed, and dozens were wounded during the protests.

In the statement, the administration also said that a committee will be formed to conduct a probe into the circumstances of the shootings, pledging to hold those involved accountable. The administration added that all those detained during recent unrest will be released.

Furthermore, the administration said it will provide needed medical supplies and cover the costs of attending to people injured during the protests.

In 2014, the SDF passed the draft law, providing for the mandatory conscription of males between 18 and 30 years old across its control areas, namely the majority of al-Hasakah governorate and large swathes in Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa, as well as in the two cities of Kobanî (Ayn al-Arab) and Manbij in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.

To boost its manpower, the SDF set up checkpoints throughout these areas to stop any people subject to the draft law. The scene was described by locals as reminiscent of the practices of the Syrian regime security checkpoints that used to capture young men and enlist them into the army’s ranks.

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