Syria's Raqqa silently slaughtered under ISIL radical rule

Syria's Raqqa silently slaughtered under ISIL radical rule
Sun Apr 27, 2014 21:41:06

Residents of Syria’s Raqqa, suffering from a harsh rule imposed by the foreign-backed extremist group of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, use every opportunity to run away from their hometown.

The Western-backed Syrian opposition which has been leading the extremist-marked war in the country, left Raqqa residents to the radical al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s representative on the ground, in March, last year.

The group was later replaced with the ISIL, another extremist group which wanted to be with al-Qaeda in Syria’s multinational war, but was disbanded.

The opposition has totally left Raqqa after tearing it apart with long battles between its fractions.

Raqqa is today without a state, and its people grapple with death every day, with no hope in sight for a normal life.

But Syrian activists have recently shed light on what they call ‘Raqqa’s silent crimes’ committed by ISIL radicals.

Activists say hundreds of people have been abducted by ISIL in recent months; no one knows what they are going through, or whether they are even alive or not.

Women gather in front of ISIL base in Raqqa, which is set inside city’s historic church, and cry to get information about their abducted relatives.

“They cry, begging for information and for their sons’ release,” said Amer Matar, whose citizen journalist brother Mohammad Nour has been detained by ISIL for nine months, according to AFP.

“My mother suffers every day, because she is not given any information about her youngest child,” said Matar, a filmmaker from Raqa who became a refugee in Germany.

Many have left the town and many are still trapped inside, suffering from ISIL rule.

Sema Nassar, a prominent human rights activist, says ISIL is believed to be holding “more than 1,000 Syrians in Raqa province, though it is impossible to know the exact number.”

She also said those suspected of opposing ISIL or violating its puritanical social code vanish, all too often without a trace, while others have been publicly executed.

The province is home to an unknown number of detention facilities, including secret prisons where torture is especially severe, says Nassar, who works with the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

“ISIL sees activists as a challenge to their power, who must be eliminated,” said Nassar.

Despite the dangers, a group of dissidents using secret identities last week launched a campaign calling on ISIL to leave Raqa under the name ‘Raqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’.

Protesters across opposition areas last Friday adopted the slogan: “Cleansing Raqa of (ISIL chief Abu Bakr) al-Baghdadi’s Gang” and on Facebook and Twitter activists share photos of the group’s abuses.

One shows a field execution of several men, who kneel blindfolded in a public square, while another shows a man who has already been executed, tied to a makeshift cross in front of wide-eyed children.

Other groups report incidents including a woman given 40 lashes for failing to veil her face.

The campaign has already raised ISIL’s ire, prompting the arrest of some 70 people in Raqa in the past week alone, said Nassar.
“They’ve arrested anyone they’ve caught even opening Facebook for entertainment, people who aren’t political at all. They’ve imposed some crazy version of emergency law on Raqa,” Nasser told AFP.
Syria sank into war in 2011 when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.
The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.

string(1101) "[{"id":"1533946","sort":"3197148","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/11/13/alalam_635199434903720144_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Al-Qaeda turns Raqqa into ‘Tora Bora’ of Syria"} ,{"id":"1540438","sort":"3197149","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/12/02/alalam_635215905135610589_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Al-Qaeda clears Christianity off Raqqa church, makes new office"} ,{"id":"1559733","sort":"3197150","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/01/27/alalam_635264185362824984_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"ISIL publically beheads 2 men with sword in Syria’s Raqqa"} ,{"id":"1561851","sort":"3197151","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/02/alalam_635269770267659002_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Al-Qaeda forms girls brigades in Syria’s Raqqa"} ,{"id":"1567478","sort":"3197152","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/19/alalam_635284294277955482_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Raqqa under extremists' rule: Islam is nothing close to ISIL Sharia"} ,{"id":"1578445","sort":"3197153","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/03/23/alalam_635311820101979231_25f_4x3.mp4","title":"ISIL radicals execute and crucify man in Syria’s Raqqa: Video"} ]"