The Syrian city of Raqqa is a crucial power centre for the so-called Islamic State, the “strong-hold of ISIS, important enough that many call it the group’s “capital” and France chose to bomb it repeatedly in retaliation to the Paris attacks.
The takeover of the city by IS doesn’t mean all the city’s current residents are behind the group. Instead, many in Raqqa have learned to deal with the strict rules and keep their heads down. This means enduring almost daily executions, lashings, and public displays of prisoners. In addition to the human rights abuses known to be rampant inside the territories that IS controls daily life for civilians in Raqqa is becoming harder. UN agencies and international aid organisations are barely able to provide any assistance to the local population.