IS’s Al-Khansa’a all-female battalion uses new torture techniques against women in the city of Raqqa


Raqqa city was controlled with an iron fist since ISIS organization seized the it at the beginning of 2014 through executions, beheadings, cruelty, stoning, arbitrary arrests, raiding houses, and kidnapping of journalists and activists.

The formation of ” Khansa ” battalion which specially prosecute women, it began employing new torture method for women in defiance of the laws issued by the organization, a “biter” instrument which is a sharp object somewhat similar to the traps used by hunters to catch wild animals, where composed of two iron jaws including sharp pointed tusks, Khansa battalion members placed it on the woman’s chest and compressed it firmly, causing severe pain and wounds may lead women in some cases to be transported to the hospital.
many women were tortured with this instrument in Raqqa city recently, this was the talk of the street in Raqqa. One case, a woman who breastfeeds her little baby in a bus station in Raqqa city center, was arrested by Khansa battatlion and was tortured with the “biter”, causing widespread controversy and popular discontent among civilians.

A woman who was being detained by Khansa battalion told us about her experience in detention, we call her Batol, a 24 year old, we concealed her real name to protect her identity, Batol says, ” I was in the market buying a few items when Khansa battalion came and arrested me on the grounds that the niqab which I was wearing does not meet Sharia requirement because it was transparent, they took me to the ” Hesba ” headquarters in the city, and escorted me to the torture chamber, then they asked me to choose between a whip or a “biter”, I did not know what a “biter” was and I thought it is a reduced sentence, I was afraid of whipping, so I choose the “biter”, then they brought a sharp object that has a a lot of teeth and held me, placing it on my chest and pressing it strongly, I screamed from pain and I was badly injured. They later took me to the hospital”.

Batol said: “I felt then that my femininity has been destroyed completely, we no longer afford to live this way, I was not the only one that was tortured with this instrument, there were a lot of women in the headquarters and their situation was tragic.”

Sami 25-year-old told us of his experience in detention, he said: ISIS’s Hesba bureau arrested me on charges of smoking and they took me to their headquarters and then put me to the torture chamber, the room floor was full of blood, and then they flogged me 40 times and threw me in a cell, there were a lot of detainees, when I looked at them I saw death in their eyes and their situation was pitiful, during the three nights I spent at the headquarters, I heard the screams of women and men who ISIS was torturing, to hear the screams of the people of my city when they are being tortured at the hands of strangers is a torture of another type, which has destroyed my dignity, It seems that this city is no longer ours, and we have become strangers here, then I began to seriously consider leaving it”.

Meanwhile, videos of “al Battar” Libyan battalion, an ISIS affiliate, was leaked. The footage showed torture of members of “Al Nusra” front in Deir al-Zour at the hands of ISIS fighters, where they humiliate the prisoners and make them beat each other in a kind of mental and physical insult to them, and when we showed them to a former prisoner from Raqqa city in ISIS prisons, he said: “These footage are only just an entertainment for the fighters, and the real torture carried out by members of ISIS inside prisons cannot be described and I could not absorb it, they’ve tortured me in various ways and I thank God that I came out unscathed.

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".