Saturday 23 September 2017

'They stick the head on a spike and put it on display' - secret footage reveals what life is really like living under Isis rule

'They execute with bullets, desecrate the body, decapitate it, stick the head on a spike and put it on display at the roundabout'

Raqqa is considered to be the de-facto capital of Isis in Syria and has been under their control since August 2014
Raqqa is considered to be the de-facto capital of Isis in Syria and has been under their control since August 2014

Two women have used secret cameras to capture the reality of life inside the Isis-controlled city of Raqqa, northern Syria.

The pair, who have been given the names Om Omran and Om Mohammad, risked death to wear hidden cameras and film life inside the Islamic State for the Expressen newspaper.

They documented the extent women are oppressed under Isis rule: they are forbidden from leaving the house alone and are punished if they don't fully cover their bodies.

When the women go to buy hair dye from a shop, even the pictures of uncovered women on the front of the packets have been scribbled over.

"She's wearing a niqab," the shop owner says.

They also captured footage of armed Isis fighters on the streets along with women from Hisbah, the Isis religious police force.

Most try to hide their weapons for fear of being targeted by air strikes.

Isis took control of Raqqa in August 2014, transforming the city into their de-facto capital in Syria.

Initially, women were allowed to wear normal niqabs and weren't required to wear black gloves or cover their eyes.

"But every week, after Friday prayers, people were given orders about the new rules that applied," Om Mohammad says. "It ended up with women being forced to wear gloves and double niqabs, and having to say at home."

"Girls' schools were shut down. Teaching was dominated by Sharia studies. The entire old schooling system disappeared and was replaced with Isis schools."

Prisoners were killed using brutal methods and homosexuals were thrown from roofs to their deaths.

The women describe seeing an execution, where a soldier was killed by firing squad and then beheaded.

"They execute with bullets, desecrate the body, decapitate it, stick the head on a spike and put it on display at the roundabout," Om Mohammad explains.

"Or they will put the body on the road and force cars to run it over until nothing is left.

"The body will become one with the ground. Only the clothes will be left."

The video concludes with Om Mohammad at home, removing her niqab and letting her hair flow freely.

"I long for the time when I can remove both the niqab and the darkness that comes with it, permanently," Om Mohammad says.

"I long to be able to dress as I want, like I used to do before. I long to walk down streets without being scared and without seeing weapons or foreigners who scare us."

She adds: "I want to live the way I want. I want to buy what I want. I want to go out alone, free and without having a guardian with me.

"Nothing matters more than freedom."

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