Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:
“Raqqa is being slaughtered silently”
“When ISIS took power, darkness fell. All freedom disappeared. There were executions on the streets.” The Syrian Hani Alrawi used to live in Raqqa, before he fled and ended up in the Netherlands. His former hometown is now the capital of ISIS.
Hani is a member of the action group Raqqa is being slaughtered silently. At first they fought against the government of President Assad, but then came ISIS.
Hani Alrawi comes from a village near Raqqa. When the uprising against Assad’s government began, he made movies and he spread information on the internet. He was drafted into the army, but refused and got nine months in jail. In late 2013 ISIS seized power in Raqqa.
Through social media, the protest group Raqqa is being slaughtered silently publicized what happened: repression, human rights violations, public executions.
“Activists were arrested,” says Hani. “People are required to dress differently. Women who did not got lashes. Their husbands were arrested, imprisoned and sent to Sharia courses.”
Risking their lives, members of the action group reported about life under the violent caliphate. On their site were placed, eg, videos and photos. Several members of the group were arrested and killed.
Hani’s life was not safe as well. Together with his close friend Ibrahim he fled to Turkey. “We thought we were safe in Turkey. But he was murdered in his own house, along with a friend.”
That happened last week when Hani was already in the Netherlands. The 22-year-old Ibrahim Abd al-Qader was one of the founders of Raqqa is being slaughtered silently. He had sensed that death was approaching. In his last tweet, a week before his death, he wrote: “My last wish: anyone who has my name in their accounts: remove it, because I feel and smell death.”
ISIS claimed the murders of the two activists on Twitter: “In Turkey we have massacred them in silence. Signed: ISIS.”
Although the danger is great, the action group continues. The first picture has been placed since the killings last week. “We get our strength from the dead. And the unsung heroes,” said Hani. “They risk their lives to share the truth about Raqqa with the world.”
It is Hani’s dream to ever return to Raqqa. “To hoist our flag and to live as Syrians.”
ISIS BOMB MAY HAVE BROUGHT DOWN RUSSIAN JET U.K. and U.S. intelligence analysts believe the plot may have been ordered and executed by the terrorist group’s cell in Sinai. Britain has suspended all flights to and from the Sinai Peninsula. [HuffPost/AP]