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Raqqa refugees flock to Jordan

Residents from Raqqa and northern Syria are heading to Jordan's Azraq refugee camp, as the Islamic State continues to impose its rules.
Newly-arrived Syrian refugees carry their belongings as they walk at Azraq refugee camp near Al Azraq area, east of Amman, August 19, 2014. The camp, which has a capacity to accommodate 50,000 people, has so far received around 10,498 refugees, according to a senior external relations officer at the United Nations. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed (JORDAN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT SOCIETY) - RTR42Z33

AZRAQ, Jordan — In a barren patch of the Jordanian desert, Syrian refugee Abu Mohammad, a pseudonym, lit a cigarette inside a square metal shelter that serves as home these days, lowered his gaze and started talking about what led him here. He and the rest of the refugees interviewed requested that their names be changed for fear of reprisals against relatives still in Syria.

It began over a year ago in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa with black-clad men bearing black flags and accents he did not recognize. Months passed as Islamic State (IS) militants tightened their chokehold on the city along the Euphrates River, soon declaring it the capital of their caliphate, a territory that also spans large swaths of Iraq. Abu Mohammad watched the transformation in agony.

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