Counter Messaging

The truth about life under Daesh in Raqqa

Despite what Daesh claimed, life for normal Raqqawis under their rule was awful. Read on below to find out the 5 things you need to know about the truth of life under Daesh in Raqqa.

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“I will help bring Raqqa back from the ruins” – a Raqqawi woman’s pledge to her beloved city

On 8 June 2016, Daesh were driven back from the western part of Raqqa city after suffering defeat in a fierce battle with the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF).

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Women and Daesh – “Amani fought a long battle to free her brother’s ‘slave girl’”

Amani is a 24 year-old Syrian girl who ended up in a refugee camp in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli. She now lives in a tent that is nothing like the modern home she had to leave behind in al-Mayadeen (Dayr Az Zor Province) and in a country that doesn’t speak her language.

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“I bought my father’s life by selling my own”

Kawthar (21) lives with her family in al-Azzawi, a small village near Shaddadi (southern Hasakeh province, in Syria). During her lifetime, she has seen her small village change hands four times already: from the Syrian regime to Ahrar al-Sham, Daesh and finally the Syrian Democratic Forces.

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Stories of Ramadan – “We will flourish again!” The incredible hope of Umm Ahmed

Bab al-Salameh IDP camp, Turkey – “Iftar [the traditional Muslim meal prepared for the breaking of the fast during Ramadan] is a family meal,” says Umm Ahmad as she is... Read More

Stories of Ramadan – How passing through a Daesh checkpoint became “the most critical moment of my life” for a Syrian midwife

Suleiman Shah refugee camp, Turkish border town of Akcakale - The call to prayer is only an hour away, but Umm Rami still finds the time to talk about how... Read More


During the past month, residents of al-Bab and Jarablus spoke about how they celebrated Ramadan without having to endure Daesh’s rule.

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Video: Ramadan in liberated areas, the voice of the population – al-Bab

During the past month, residents of al-Bab and Jarablus spoke about how they celebrated Ramadan without having to endure Daesh’s rule.

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Women and Daesh – “The female guard said to me: All children belong to Daesh”

Until the end of 2014, the small villages in Northern al-Bab in the Aleppo countryside had been completely left out of the different belligerents’ battle plans. The opposition was using... Read More

Ramadan by the sea – a Syrian family’s chance to heal from the horror of Daesh

This year, Amal, her husband and two children are celebrating Ramadan together in the coastal city of Tartus, in North-western Syria. The family now lives in a small flat near... Read More

Stories of Ramadan: A “Tattooed Identity” Daesh Could Never Change

You would think that since Daesh is so strict with civilians when it comes to fasting, its members would observe the holy month of Ramadan scrupulously. However, things are a bit different in the areas under their control, where Zaina (56) used to live with her three sons before they left Raqqa when Daesh took over the city in 2014. Like most Raqqawi women, she has a traditional tattoo on her neck, a mark of identity which would come to mean a lot to her.

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Women surviving Daesh

Tammam and Widad: An Escape from the hell of Daesh

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