Abu Ibrahim al-Raqqawi, a pseudonym for a young anti-IS activist from Raqqa, told Al-Monitor the situation was dire. He said, “People in Raqqa are outraged. There are a lot of immigrants who came and joined IS: Americans, British, Germans, Europeans in general and from around the world. They are given special treatment, pampered by the organization.”
He added, “They are given the best homes and cars while locals pay taxes. They took the abandoned houses — some left behind by Christians, others by Sunnis — while those in the city who own more than a house are forced to give all other houses to the immigrants.”
Raqqawi, who founded the “Raqqa is being slaughtered silently” campaign, explained that a group of young men decided to rise against IS. “We are a group of activists from the city of Raqqa. We were against the ruthless regime of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, and after our city was liberated by another ruthless regime, IS, we decided to resume our activities. Our campaign started on April 16, 2014,” he said.
The campaign involved spraying anti-IS slogans on the walls of the city and documenting crimes and executions, and the bombardment from both the regime and the US-led coalition. Raqqawi told Al-Monitor, “We distributed flyers warning of the danger IS poses to the city, and we tried to organize demonstrations there, but IS quelled our attempts violently.”