Raqqa in the wake of hangings, kidnappings, and armed robberies

The residents of Raqqa were stunned Sunday morning by a gruesome photo of 10-year-old Yasser Al-Faris circulating across social media. The photo showed the young boy’s lifeless body hanging from a noose in one of the many destroyed buildings of the city. This horrific crime comes just two months after the murder of young Khalil Abdel Razzaq who was found stabbed through the heart and discarded in a swimming pool of another destroyed house in the city.
Yasser Al-Faris went missing Saturday evening and his photos were shared on social media by his family in the hopes he’d be found. However, by the time the posts gained traction, he was found deceased.
In the aftermath of the crime, the so-called “Raqqa Civil Council” came out with an outrageous statement, in which they claimed Yasser committed suicide due to conflicts within this family. It is quite a stretch to assume that a ten-year-old child could seriously consider killing himself due to psychological distress. It also seems unrealistic for a child of his age and stature to kill himself in this method. The Raqqa Civil Council’s statement seems aimed to draw attention away from the very real dangers of living in the city these days.
Armed robberies and kidnappings:
Raqqa has seen its share of danger lately. Armed men recently stormed the house of city resident Tarad Al-Ali Al-Hamoud, shot him, and stole 200 thousand dollars. The bullet hit Tarad’s spine, leaving him paralyzed. This robbery and assault came just hours after a mother and her two children were kidnapped by a taxi driver. There fate remains unknown.
And just days before that, the Women’s Protection Units, an all-female militia affiliated with the terrorist group PKK, kidnapped a child named Ibtihal Al-Fadani in an attempt to forcibly recruit her into the ranks of the militia, which claims to defend women’s rights.
These crimes all occurred as the SDF put up various barriers in the streets of Raqqa, not only to control movement within the city, but to aid in the arrest and conscription of the city’s young men.
The SDF is a silent partner in these crimes:
The SDF has proved to be, either an active or passive accomplice in all crimes committed in the city. Rather than investigating the real causes and finding the actual perpetrators of the city’s various crimes, the SDF has consistently worked to make excuses or cover up these atrocities. The SDF has persistently refused to share any of the footage from over 600 cameras they installed across the city over a year and a half ago. Withholding this vital information only serves to obscure the truth and perpetuate an atmosphere of fear throughout the city.

Translated by: Julie Larah