Increasing fees, new fines and human shields – Reports from Life Under Daesh

Reports suggest Daesh intend to use human shields in al-Bab’. 

Earlier this month (October), Daesh announced mandatory evacuations within 48 hours from numerous villages north of al-Bab City so that they could be used within defensive locations ahead of the advancing Operation Euphrates Shield forces. As with Manbij City, it appears that Daesh intends to prevent civilians from fleeing its territory so that it will be able to use them as human shields, should al-Bab come under siege.

High-ranking foreign fighters depart al-Bab City.

Also in October, Daesh foreign fighters and their families continued to withdraw from al-Bab to Raqqa City. Further, according to reports, many were high-ranking Daesh members. This conclusion was drawn because of the strict security measures implemented during their departure, which included the presence of snipers in over-watch positions on roofs near Daesh headquarters in the city.

Daesh force people to pay for services in Raqqa, despite most being non-existent.

In Raqqa, several new measures designed to generate revenue for Daesh have been announced. While electricity and telephone coverage is intermittent at best in Raqqa and Tabqa, Daesh nevertheless raised the fees in both areas. In Raqqa City, Daesh’s Office of Services announced an increase in monthly fees for electricity and telephone services to 6000 SYP (£9.30) and 2000 SYP (£3.10), respectively. In Tabqa City, Daesh’s Office of Services announced that residents would still be required to pay fees and taxes related to municipal services, even though most of the supposed services are paltry or nonexistent. As context, an estimate of median income in places such as Raqqa is 70,000 – 75,000 SYP per month (roughly £110).

New fines imposed in Raqqa.

Additionally, Daesh announced that anyone failing, on demand, to present papers from their repentance shari’a courses will be fined $200 (£165), a considerable sum for struggling locals (around six week’s pay for most). It is reported that when such papers were distributed to those completing repentance courses—whether for shari’a offenses, conversion from another religion, or for working for the Assad regime previously—they were not informed that they would be required to keep the documents.

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