Exclusive : Abdalaziz Alhamza “RBSS”

A group of activists recently launched a campaign advocating for refugees trapped between the Serbian and Macedonian border, after they had been prevented from entry and transit to Europe. In the beginning, activists reported prevention of some of the Syrians, most of them from Raqqa, from crossing boarders due to the claim of being “terrorists”.

That was before the European decision and the agreement between Turkish government and The European Union in which all Syrians are prevented from crossing to Europe. People of Raqqa recognize the curse that emerged in their land, known as “ISIS”.

It should be noted that this “curse” was not compatible with the common ideology of the population in Raqqa, the fact that encouraged Isis to arrest, kidnap or even assassinate many people in Raqqa city after accusing them of being apostates. This is apart from thousands of people who were displaced from their homes due to the violent actions of the terrorist organisation that’s controlling the city.

Unfortunately, that curse was not attached only to the areas that the terrorist group controls, it exceeded the limits and crossed the boarders to become a stigma that followed each one of those who belong to the city, al Raqqa, or even a charge that they were accused of by many local and international actors.

Ahmad, a young man in his twenties, who fled the city of Raqqa fearing the forced recruitment by Isis in order to stop the advancement of Kurdish forces in the north, said to Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently: “I felt relieved at the moment I crossed the last checkpoint of the terrorist organization, near AL-Bab City, and I asked one of the passengers in the microbus for “a freedom cigarette”.

Once we reached one of The Free Syrian Army checkpoints in the countryside of Aleppo, one of the soldiers asked for our identity cards. A moment later he ordered me to get off the vehicle, shockingly, the charge was just being from Raqqa.

He began inspecting my mobile phone and arbitrarily accused me, and all the people of Raqqa, of being ISIS supporters. He asked me to take off my shirt in order to inspect my shoulders looking for any signs of military bandolier. I would not be bothered by his accurate inspect, but the humiliating words against me and the people of my city, or even the mean way in which he was inspecting me were enough to provoke me.

I asked him to stop repeating those accusations, but he shouted at me and angrily said “shut up, ISIS supporter!”. A checkpoint after another, same accusations and same behaviour, no matter whether they were opposition forces or Islamic factions. In Turkey, the case was not much better than the liberated areas. The city of Urfa is witnessing a heavy presence of ISIS fighters, along with a large number of displaced people from the province of Raqqa, with the later badly suffering from strict security regulations.

For instance, they have been experiencing a difficulty in moving between Turkish states, as a result of Turkish fears from the movement of ISIS fighters or even the Kurdish fighters in between towns. In Europe, the old continent, the situation was quite better, however, recently there has been a clear discrimination amongst refugees. Moreover, they started to fear of those coming from Raqqa, who already fled the city escaping from the violations of Isis and missiles and aerial attacks of Assad regime. ISIS curse is still chasing people of Raqqa, not only in Syria, but all over the world at the time the international community failed to advocate them, and hence is facing the result of that, while the people of Raqqa are suffering from the consequences.

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".