Life Under Daesh – Daesh Impact on Families
Evictions and Home Confiscations
Daesh has pursued a policy of confiscating properties owned by ‘absentee’ landlords, which are often occupied by refugees or poor families. Indeed, many wealthy families that have fled Daesh territory allowed poor families to occupy their homes for nominal rents, in order to preserve their claim on the property should Daesh later be driven out. In turn, Daesh has claimed that these absentee landlords have chosen to travel to “the Lands of Kufr” and their property is therefore forfeit. The practical effect of this policy is that Daesh frequently confiscates property from poor families and gives it to fighters, especially foreign fighters. This contradicts Daesh’s assertion that Muslims must perform hijra (migration) to the “Caliphate” to defend the Muslims of Syria from outside oppressors; the foreign fighters have become the oppressors.
Daesh requires registration of property, facilitating future confiscations if registration is not done properly or is deemed incorrect. Numerous examples of confiscation have been reported using this method since February.
Daesh are reported to have confiscated homes from local families specifically to give to foreign fighters.
Daesh evicted several families from residential buildings in Boqruss, Dayr al-Zawr, with no known justification, throwing poor families out onto the street.
Punishments and Pressure
Daesh imposes collective punishments on families to force them to inform on and police each other’s behaviour, making every family member a potential informant inside the home. The law especially forces male “guardians” to impose Daesh’s strict clothing requirements on their wives and daughters to avoid lashings and heavy fines.
Extortion of money for minor penalties. In February, Daesh sentenced a young man to serve a short jail sentence. However, after discovering that the father of the young man was wealthy, Daesh changed the ruling and forced the father to pay “10 grams of gold,” for the release of his son.
Death sentence for helping a woman escape. A 15-year-old boy was sentenced to death by Daesh in March for helping his sister-in-law escape to regime-controlled territory in Dayr al-Zawr City. The boy’s brother (the woman’s husband) was reportedly an Al Nusra Front fighter who left the city as Daesh moved in.
Collective Punishment – female Hisba punish husbands for their wives’ activities. In reported incidents in Syria, female units of Daesh’s Hisba morality police punished women and their husbands for breaking Daesh laws, showcasing again Daesh’s desire to spread their harsh sentencing to entire families, creating divisions and tension:
- In Raqqa City, a woman was lashed for “going out with non-permitted clothing.” Hisba agents then brought the woman back to her home and fined her husband $50 (£35). Further, the wife then received 28 days of jail time for improper clothing and resisting the Hisba, while her husband received 14 days for allowing her to leave the house without appropriate clothing.
- In al-Bab City, when it was under Daesh control a house was raised by the Hisba after neighbours complained about a woman shouting obscenities at her children inside the home. The woman was lashed and jailed, while her husband was fined $50 (£35) for his wife’s conduct.
- In al-Bab City, Daesh fined the husbands of three women who were outside the home without approved clothing.
Further Clothing Violations. Daesh arrested a mother and daughter for the daughter’s clothing violation. Daesh lashed the mother, her husband, and their daughter, while fining the father $70 (£48) and $35 (£27) each for the mother and daughter.
Desperate Measures. Before they lost control of the city, Daesh members surrounded a neighbourhood in western al-Bab City after a Daesh member threatened to detonate a suicide vest, after Daesh security forces arrested his son for allegedly helping outside groups (he had been accused of being a spy). This example shows desperation of those who have had their families ripped apart by Daesh ‘justice’.
Daesh pressures families to encourage their young sons to join the group, frequently sending them to other regions to prevent desertions.
Daesh have ordered preachers in Raqqa City and Dayr al-Zawr City to use their sermons to encourage all men capable of fighting to join Daesh fighting units and to urge families to pressure their sons to join Daesh.
Before Daesh were driven out of al-Bab City, a court informed a local family that two of their teenage sons had died in a battle in Hasaka province. The boys had been recruited over one and a half years ago, when they were aged 14 and 15, before they were then moved to the frontline some distance away to prevent them from deserting.