Smuggled footage shows daily life under the rule of the Al-Qaeda inspired Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the north-central Syrian city of Raqqa. Included in the footage are shots of ISIL fighters, forced public prayer, foreign wives of ISIL fighters, ISIL women carrying guns, enforcement of strict dress codes for women, food handout stations, and testimony from locals about life under ISIL.
Raghad, a young Syrian woman, left her hometown of Raqqa to finish her studies when the Free Syrian Army was in control of the city. However, she decided to return to see what had changed after the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took over the city located on the Euphrates River in north-central Syria.
00:13 – 00:48 Raghad is stopped in the park by ISIS fighters in a truck telling her that her niqab is transparent.
ISIS fighter in the truck: (3:33 – How are you leaving the house like this. We can see your face.
Raghad: 3:37 – Really? Maybe it is a bit transparent. Forgive me.
ISIS fighter: 3:40 – God does not accept that.
Raghad: Please forgive me
00:58 – 1:17 Raghad asks a women sitting in the park with her son and another man, if she thinks her niqab is transparent.
Raghad: 00:58 – I left the house and I am not sure if my niqab is transparent. Is it?
00:10 Is my face showing?
1:30 – 1: 55 Street scene and armed fighter talking to children. The armed fighter than joins a street prayer.
2:00 – 2:45 People praying in the street + veiled women walking in the street
2:46 – 6:17 Raghad is in a collective taxi at an ISIS checkpoint. There is an incident with the fighter at the checkpoint.
ISIL check point officer: (4:47) You don’t fear God?
Raghad: (4:50) Why, (4:57) what did we do to say that we don’t fear God?
ISIL check point officer: (4:57)That woman only put on the Niqab a few meters before reaching the checkpoint.
Raghad: (5:01)You think that whoever wears the Niqab will keep wearing it everywhere?
ISIL check point officer: (5:03) Yes of course, you have to
Raghad: (5:05) No it’s not true. No woman will wear the niqab forever. Why do you think women are wearing the niqab in Raqqa? People wear it only in Raqqa.
(5:20 – 5:25) Each person should be responsible to practice his religion (the way he or she wants). People are wearing the niqab out of fear. The other woman talking: (5:26 – 5:35) Some people wear it out of fear from god and others wear it out of fear for people.
The other woman talking: (5:39 –5:55) The woman was wearing the niqab all the time but right before we arrived to the checkpoint, she couldn’t breath, so we lifted it a bit so that she could breath. She is newly pregnant and she wasn’t feeling well.
6:24 – 8:22 Two armed fighters in a cellphone shop
9:05 – 13:13 A public kitchen where women and children come to get food. Raghad talks to a woman and a child.
Raghad: 9:09 Hello, what’s in your bowl?
The woman: 9:13 Food.
Raghad: 9:14 From the public kitchen?
Raghad: Only soup?
Woman: Yes, there is also bourghoul.
Raghad: Is it like this every day?
Raghad: (10:42) What is this?
Little girl: (10:45)These are buckets
Raghad: (10:46) What for?
Little girl: (10:50)To take them home
Raghad: (10:52) So you get food from here and you take it home in the buckets?
Little girl: (10:55) No we come here put food in them and eat the food here then we go home and take the buckets empty. (11:05) Why are you asking?
Raghad: (11:06) I just saw all of these crowds, so I wanted to know why they’re gathered here.
13:28 – 14:23 At a street market. We can see the place where they execute people in the back.
15:11 – At the Internet café
16:15 – 16: 31 I don’t want to come back… Because I am happy here. If I want to come back I can. I don’t want to come back. I am happy here.
16:44 – 16:50 We have everything here. I can assure you. There is everything here.
17:38 – 18:00 I am not planning on coming back. I’m telling you “cash” (she means straight forward) I don’t want her to tell herself that I will come back because I won’t. I came here, I didn’t take the risk to come here to go back to France.
25:06 25:20 – A group of fighters walking in the street
28:02 – 27:45 People waiting in line in front of a bakery
28:04 – 28:53 – A woman holding a Kalashnikov with her son and a man enter a park. She is the same woman as the one sitting in the park, at the beginning of the video.
28:54 – 29:43 ISIS Head Quarters