Younes Ahmad and Karen Leigh, Syria Deeply / July 22, 2014

ISIS Takes Raqqa Back To The Stone Age


The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continues to gain ground in the Levant, despite the fact that most Syrians do not agree with their radical ideology. One of the more recently conquered towns is the city of Raqqa, located just east of Aleppo. Raqqa is the focus of several recent fatwas, or religious rulings, decreed and enforced by ISIS. Among the new restrictions are a ban on electricity, strict regulations on women’s dress, and a bar on women travelling anywhere without a male chaperone. While Ramadan used to be a time of family, traditions, and close-knit community, the holy month has become a vehicle for extremist groups to cement their control over all aspects of daily life.

Residents of Raqqa are reacting angrily to these most recent infringements on their freedom. Distractions like TV programmes are considered essential to successfully completing a month of fasting, while necessities like air conditioning is crucial in extremely hot climates, especially for the elderly population. Hear from residents of Raqqa on their experiences of life and Ramadan with ISIS.