A day in the new Raqqa

Exclusive – Abdalaziz Alhamza “RBSS”

Everything look normal when going out of the house , exactly like before, but it’s just moments till the differences start to appear , you see men with long beards and wearing short dresses because of ISIS orders , also the women are not recognized even if it’s your mother , and about the number of ISIS  member it’s different according to the neighborhood , You will find some of them wearing clean clothes and almost smell the musk wafting from him, and another alienated from its smell before tens of meters, when you get out of small neighborhoods you see the banners fill the streets and the media points to view the visual versions of ISIS which through it they terrorizing people.

You cannot distinguish between the missions of the ISIS members deployed in Raqqa, they are all heavily armed and most of them wearing explosive belts, but they hardly ever meet at “Alhisba” mission rich from the definition, every member of the organization takes the role of ordering about what is good and forbidding what is not in case of their inability to find a clear charge against an opponent who is often of civilians.

Life has become in Raqqa upside-down, in the past was full of work and study for school students and worship of the hermit, was shopping the good company of the wife, especially before of the Eid was having a special thrill, as well as visiting relatives, but now became what said despite its simplicity is almost impossible. Today, you should be careful before you think about going out, accompanied by the wife or the mother, and must check on the most trivial details in the women’s dress, and smaller mistake may expose you to be a prisoner for Alhisba first and there at “Alhisba headquarters” the events will accelerate, and that small mistake in the dress of your wife can kills your life no wonder.

And in the market you should know exactly how to shut your mouth and to close your eyes even from the stone and only buying your needs and come back before you lubricate your tongue a word might considered a blasphemous not explicitly but smartness and eloquence of the member of the organization newborn Islam can detect and determine what behind that word of sanctions in the world and the Hereafter,

and also their knowledge of any door from the gates of hell you will enter after you say what you said, till this moment the image of that young man of twenties does not leave my imagination, and the story of the young man simply that he resented the high cost price, of “tomato” and he cursed it , so a member concluded that he and decided to give him the necessary punishment because of what he said, and after his arrival to the headquarters of Alhisba and during the torture the forbidden was happened as they claimed that he cursed them and  hamlet and that was the end of him crucified beheaded at clock Sq..

And the change that took place in Raqqa since the announcement of the alleged succession, we need long hours of talking, everything is worse than it was in the past, Prices doubled and the civil became dream to live as before, despite the bad case, but “conjunctivitis kindest of blindness” as has been said, and increased life worse, the regime has cut employees’ salaries fully and in against ISIS prevented civilians from traveling, and impose taxation for shopkeepers.

ISIS owns a quite a bit fleet of oil refineries in Iraq, Syria, fuel with all kinds became the bestselling item in the arrears of ISIS control, and cheaper than before, and began the article “kerosene” that was almost extinct return and trading again after gas cylinders have become scarce in the city, despite the availability of it to the fighters of the organization.

Everything in Raqqa become algebraically, the man is forced to take the beard and shortening dresses, and women are forced to wear the clothes imposed by the organization and the list goes on, but everyone is forced to stay in Raqqa, and not to communicate with their families abroad only through a few internet cafes under the control of the organization.

Everyday I’m living in Raqqa increasing my venom and impulsive to fight these anomalous, but what what most stopping me from think about it is that my family, my brothers in are Raqqa, because of the ruthless of ISIS against any member of the family in the case they knew that I was working against them.

A friend told me that in the beginning of ISIS control over the city, and on the way to the city of Deir el-Zor, the car was stopped by barrier on the eastern gate of Raqqa and while checking the identities of the travelers, the ISIS member recognized one of the passengers and began to ask him about:

The fighter: are you that man?

The man: yes it’s me

The fighter: get down and bring your bag with you

The man: why? What’s the problem?

The fighter: your father used to work with the regime

The man: yes he was, but he died before the revolution

The man was dropped off and the fighter ordered the driver to leave and he was forced to did it we were just looking powerless

There is such colloquially says, “who tries the experimenter, his mind vandal,” I saw a lot of my relatives who came out, whether forced or not, taste the torment is, any place but your city will be strange even if it’s away only few kilometers, I saw them as they die of pain on the parting of their homes and their relatives, even though they are safe from shelling and drums death, but in my opinion, death in Raqqa kindest of fuss and misery in the land of exile, no matter how you worked and got money and took the nationality of the country where you live, you will remain curious in their eyes, and now unfortunately everywhere go to the people of my cities, they remain under the control and attention of the authorities, they are the “Aldoaash” Whatever they do, even if they were Christians. Almost days in Raqqa be similar, except for the different timing of the arrival of warplanes, begins the day to go to the market and bring home needs, and then go to work and abide by the rules of speech every word must be weighed in the balance before it go out, do not forget to go to the mosque every prayer her time, then go home and stay until the next day.

Raqqa city is the agricultural town par excellence, which are planted lots of vegetables, as well as the organization’s policy to allow for vegetables and fruits to be in the places of regime control, for oil, I think; therefore the Raqqa a good quantity of fruits and vegetables, despite the high prices.

Medication and medical care in Raqqa, is the most tragic things, the regime does not allow for drugs to enter the city as well as other factions, and further complicated after Kurdish control of the city of Tel Abyad border with Turkey it, so the closed the last medications crossings of the city.

Increases every day the number of air strikes on the city, and the misfortune of civilians, most of the strikes targeted the National Hospital, the largest hospital in the city and the lifeline for all; today the National Hospital became completely out of service, and the disease has become a calamity not equivalent calamity.

Since the liberation of the city, power plants was one of the most important war aviation targets, was the electricity almost non-existent, and the repair of electrical network –and still- is very difficult; now been used the Amperes system, where there is a big electricity generating in most neighborhoods, and the electricity is distributed to the participants for versus rates that are different from one place to another, for a period of ten hours a day; the water was and still the most abundant praise thanks to the vicinity of Raqqa of the Euphrates River.

Topping Raqaa today’s news headlines, and her name has been associated with ISIS, it is the capital of the caliphate while everyone forgets it is the capital of liberation; I remember in one of the years was held in Raqqa “Vanguards of the Baath” festival, the students came from all Syrian cities, not one of them knows Raqqa, you will find one of them holds in his bag fork and knife and spoon thinking that the Raqqa people still living in tents in the desert. My only wish today that the world will forget the new name of Raqqa, and get back to our beautiful lives. ?!

media activist from the city of Raqqa, student at the Faculty of Law at the University of the Euphrates. Director of the Media Office of Raqqa, founding member of "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently", founding member of the documentary project of "Sound and Picture". I work in documenting violations committed by Assad's regime and ISIS group and extremist organizations inside the city of Raqqa, as I work in programming, design and visual media. I hold a certificate of coach in digital security, and a certificate of journalist coach, and a certificate in documenting violations against human rights, and a certificate in electronic advocacy. I underwent a training under the supervision of "Cyber-Arabs" in collaboration with the Institute for War and Peace "IWPR", about the management of electronic websites and leadership of advocacy campaigns, and a training of press photography under the supervision of the photojournalist "Peter Hove Olesen".