Skip to main content

Life in Raqqa under IS

The faceless young Syrian behind the “Raqqa is being slaughtered silently” campaign and website tells Al-Monitor about life in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, an Islamic State stronghold.
An Islamic State policeman controls traffic in Raqqa September 18, 2014. Picture taken September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (SYRIA - Tags: TRANSPORT SOCIETY) - RTR46TUK

Behind the walls of the de facto Islamic State (IS), life in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa goes on. The city, once the summer capital of the Abbasid dynasty, has become a jihadist metropolis, where thousands of IS fighters, families, immigrants and locals live under the sort of tailored circumstances that could only fit the society created by its self-appointed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Abu Ibrahim al-Raqqawi, a pseudonym for a young anti-IS activist from Raqqa, told Al-Monitor the situation was dire. He said, “People in Raqqa are outraged. There are a lot of immigrants who came and joined IS: Americans, British, Germans, Europeans in general and from around the world. They are given special treatment, pampered by the organization.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.