Abu Salah Mohammad Isam, 22, grins as he strokes his freshly trimmed goatee, enjoying his newfound freedom to shave after Islamic State militants were driven out of his hometown.

For the past year, the Islamic State controlled the Syrian border city of Tal Abyad and enforced strict rules on appearance: full veils for women and full beards for men. Those rules were scrapped last week, when Syrian Kurdish forces known as the YPG seized the town.

Tuesday, the YPG and its allies pushed the Islamic State from the town of Ain Issa, putting the Kurdish-led forces within 30 miles of the militant group’s de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria.

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