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US-led coalition ally targets State Department-funded Syrian Arab activists

Syrian civil society activists in the country's largely Kurdish northeast are being arrested and held by the Syrian Democratic Forces, possibly as part of a campaign of intimidation.
A fighter of Syrian Democratic Forces stands amidst the ruins of buildings near the Clock Square in Raqqa, Syria October 18, 2017. Picture taken October 18, 2017.     REUTERS/Erik De Castro - RC1E4E003870

In August of 2019, Hasan Kassab, a 27-year-old civil society activist and medical student, married his sweetheart Rawan in Raqqa, Syria. “There were 350 people at our wedding, there was dancing and singing. We had so much fun,” Kassab said, recalling their party at the popular Greek House restaurant on the banks of the Euphrates River.

Video footage from the event shows the groom with a neatly trimmed beard in a dark gray suit and pink tie, his hands nervously clasped before him. The bride leans toward him smiling. She wears a white lace dress with gauze sleeves. A crystal-studded tiara crowns her dark hair. Family members from Kassab’s al-Bosaraya tribe and Rawan’s Baytra tribe mill around with joyful expressions.

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