Horrible crimes committed in al-Raqqa during IS' domination

The survival of mercenaries for more than two years in the city of al-Raqqa and its countryside, whose "alleged capital" was a dark black era, the people of the region passed through. The story of the family of Ghosun Mohammed al-Khalaf and the family of Ali al-Hassen embodies the darkness in which the people of the region lived.

In the early year 2014, Daesh mercenaries occupied extensive areas from Iraq and Syria countries, the most important were Mosul, Deir ez-Zor and al-Raqqa, where Daesh committed horrible crimes against the people in the region.

Ghosun Mohammed al-Khalaf is now working in people's municipality of al-Hamarat town in countryside of al-Raqqa in full freedom, but she paid a high price for her freedom, where she had lost her father Mohammed al-Khalaf and her sibling Suleiman.

She narrated her story, "One day, masked security men raided our homes, and arrested all my family's members without any reason, blindfolded them and took them by military vehicles. We later learned that they had been taken to their famous headquarters, "Point 11" which is existed in the black stadium in the center of al-Raqqa city. The mercenaries used to hung the prisoners from their feet on the roof and keep them on this case for days in order to confess fake accusations."

Ghosun continued, "We searched for them for months, but to no avail, and when we asked them about our detainees, they said to us: 'Go home woman, we have nobody with these names,' and every time we got news of the release of detainees from IS' prisons, we rushed and hoped to find my father and brother, but we always came back with disappointment."

She added, "After several months of research, I was told that the mercenaries had killed my 55-year-old father and my 30-year-old brother in front of a crowd of people in one of the squares of al-Raqqa, whose names appeared on social networking webpages, and the trumped-up charge against them was to deal with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the International Coalition."

Ghosun was exposed to great suffering by the unjust measures of Daesh, she said that IS' mercenaries had prevented her and the rest of her family from setting up a mourning tent under the pretext that "they must not build a tent for them."

After this ordeal of Ghosun, and especially after the liberation of the city by SDF, Ghosun rushed to join those who contribute to building the society, and started work in the municipals' section, specifically in the municipality of al-Hamarat in the eastern countryside of al-Raqqa.

"The main reason encouraged me to do this is my deep belief that women can accomplish the things they will be entrusted with, and to live a new life in order to forget the hardships they experienced before liberation, as they have tremendous capabilities," said Ghosun.

She still hopes to meet her sons, and suffered a lot

The tragedy began with the loss of three sons of the family's members who are young. The two boys Wissam Ali al-Hassen, born in 1990 and Hussam Ali al-Hassen, born in 1992 were arrested by Daesh mercenaries under the pretext of dealing with the International Coalition, while the other members of the family remained waiting for them to go out to the areas liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces during the campaign of al-Raqqa liberation.

After the third son, Shawakh Ali al-Hassen, born in 1980 got disappointed of the release of his brothers, his mother, sisters Reham and Wadha and he went to the liberated areas, but he was killed while he was visiting a neighbor where the mercenaries were watching their house after they heard that they had the goal of leaving the city. They saw him going to his neighbor and arrested him, but the Coalition's aircraft could not differentiate between IS' mercenaries and him, where Daesh dress was imposed on the people.

Shaha al-Hussein, the mother of Wissam and Hussam told us how her sons were arrested on false pretexts: "What broke my heart was that I was asleep when my sons were arrested. I did not see them for the last time. When I heard a sound in the house, I got up while the tragedy occurred as they were arrested when they were young."

Hussam's mother continued her words with pain and sorrow over the fate of her two sons, "When they were arrested by Daesh, their brother Mohamed Hassen followed them. The mercenaries told him to follow them to the governorate's building if he wanted to know the fate of his brothers, and when he arrived at the place, they met him with a threat and that he would be arrested with them in prison if he asked again about their fate."

She added, "After a month of her children's imprisonment, Wissam called me and asked me to cut off the network devices and hand over the equipment to them to be released with his brother. We immediately handed over the equipment and sat waiting for their release based on the promise, but their promise was fake."

Hussam's mother said that she stayed in her house four days before the liberation process after she lost all hope to meet her children after IS brutal practices increased against them as a mercenary who carries Egyptian nationality threatened them not to leave their home or else he will use it as his headquarter.

On the obstacles faced by the family members during the exit to the liberated areas, Hussam's mother stressed that the situation was exacerbated by the mines which had been planted by IS' mercenaries that were hindering the exit of the people, in addition to the presence of mercenary snipers everywhere.



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