Death chases the people of Raqqa

Death chases the people of Raqqa

Exclusive – Abdalaziz Alhamza “RBSS”
Syrian cities out of the regime control live truly hard circumstances, such as hunger, siege and deliberate destruction. Each area is different from the other but they all face death.
Each time conditions get worse in an area, people flee their cities if they can find a way out. That is the case in Aleppo, where hundreds of families escaped to the suburbs or to the city of Idlib looking for safer places, away from the Russian attacks and Assad barrel bombs.

Last month Russian forces carried out several raids on Raqqa, which resulted in a large destruction and mass civilian casualties, and more than 30 people killed and dozens injured.
In the past few days, the entire city was completely scanned by The International Coalition’s reconnaissance planes lasted for three days, and 24 air strikes ensued. The raids lasted for more than three hours of terror in a city that has no safe havens.

Asking one of the inhabitants of Raqqa about the latest attacks, he described the mass demolition of the silos (big grain storages in the city) and the inhibited areas around it. “If people could barely find something to eat as they have no money, how could they find other havens to retreat to? They have nothing” He said. “Nobody could flee the city since months. Those who want to, would have done that a long time ago. And besides, it is not that easy to leave. It costs a lot. A hundred thousand Syrian pounds for each person, which equals around half a million for a small family, which is something unaffordable for the people here. Apart from other expenses they should take care of if they want to leave like renting a new house and other life expenses. I can’t afford that. All people I know neither do. Not to mention the difficulty of seeking permission from Daesh (Isis) itself.” He added.

While trying to survey people’s opinions, we met Om Ali; a sixty-year-old woman who lives with her husband and daughter in their humble small house in one of the most targeted neighborhoods of Raqqa. We asked her about the reason why she did not leave, she said “Isis have eyes everywhere in the city, and as soon as they know that one family fled they immediately occupy their house, loot their properties and either accommodate one of their fighters in it or turn it into a military centre or an ammunition storage”. “This house is all what I own” She added determinedly “I grew up my children here. I’ve always been living here, and will never abandon this house unless to Huttien (a cemetery in the city).”

A.A is a chosen name for a 36-year-old man who bitterly said “No one ever cares about Raqqa being attacked or bombed. I know that’s the case for the whole country. But we have the worst fortunate as people justify the crimes against its civilians under the pretext of fighting terrorism. A few hundreds of Isis terrorists living in the city are deemed a justification to blow up civilians”Death is chasing civilians everywhere, anytime. Those who survive the “multi-national” attacks might be killed one day by the extremist group, which keeps innovating in inventing new violent and brutal methods to torture and kill innocent people. And if one was lucky to survive both killers, they would be exposed to deteriorating health services and an indescribable situation of grief that would be sufficient to lead them to death, seeing their city turning into something they never know, due to all the bombardment that Raqqa has witnessed over the last few years, and still.

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".