April 21, 2017

The Raqqa Diaries: Escape from Islamic State by Samer

Since ISIS occupied Raqqa in eastern Syria, it has become one of the most isolated and fear-ridden cities on earth. The sale of television has been banned, wearing trousers the wrong length is a punishable offence, and using a mobile phone is considered an unforgivable crime.
No journalists are allowed in and the penalty for speaking to the western media is death by beheading.
Despite this, after several month of nervy and often interrupted conversations, the BBC was able to make contact with a small activist group, Al-Sharqiya 24. Finally, courageously, one of their members agreed to write a personal diary about his experiences.
Having seen friends and relatives butchered, his community's life shattered and the local economy ruined by these hate-fuelled extremists, Samer is fighting back the only way he can: by telling the world what is happing to his beloved city.
This is Samer's story.

Published by Hutinson London
Edited by Mike Thomson
Translated by Nader Ibrahim and illustrated by Scott Cello

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