Why did ISIS choose Raqqa not any other city? Why the city is still under the terrorist group control? These questions are asked very frequent by politicians and journalists, most of the answers are talking that this area is terror incubated area and if the journalist or politician is fair the answer would be about Assad regime’s sectarianism but the fact is very different.
The term (terror incubated areas) is used every now and then here and there; this term is used to accuse a large number of people of terrorism and getting the right to destroy whole cities and villages.
For example, the Syrian regime has accused each and every village or town, which got out of its control, to be terror incubated areas. At regime check points, it is enough to be from Raqqa to get arrested and there are several examples on that even if they were Assad supporters.
Also the bombing over Raqqa is totally right and justified. On 11/24/2014 the city was under tens of airstrikes and more than 205 people were killed, and the reaction of that was only silence, even the US administration tweeted then that the US is concerned about targeting civilians in Raqqa by the regime warplanes and in this tweet you can find clearly that they consider that as a mistake not as a crime, noting that Amnesty international has documented the incident and confirmed that the closest ISIS location is 1.5 Kilometers.
Even at a lot of FSA checkpoints you might get caught only because you might be ISIS supporter. Today when we speak to any foreigner and when you say that you are from Raqqa the first reaction is saying ISIS!
In the historical context of Raqqa and its suburbs, there has been no presence of any radical Salafi religion; most of Raqqa people are Sofis just like the Turkish Sufism, Niqab was not known in Raqqa at all even the Muslim brotherhood was not common in Raqqa.
Moreover, in Raqqa there was no sectarian diversity they are all Sunnis so there is no reason for any sectarian based violence. Raqqa is tribal community became as a medium sized city but no good services and always forgotten by the government. Its economy is based on government jobs, agricultural and a trade seems to be limited on Raqqa people. In recent decades and when the Syrian government decided to use social market economy, the agricultural became neglected and tens of thousands of people lost their jobs and had to look for job vacancies in neighborhood countries and the Arab gulf.