Terrified Residents and Internal Chaos – Life under Daesh
Daesh terrifies residents in Raqqa Province with spectre of Tabqa Dam collapse. On 28 March, Daesh patrols with megaphones visited towns and communities west of Raqqa City in order to inform them that the Tabqa Dam was “almost certainly going to collapse” as a consequence of Coalition bombing. Daesh repeated this tactic on 29 March in Raqqa City itself. Many residents fled due to this news, with Daesh amplifying this reaction by warning that the flood would kill thousands. Through its fear-mongering among residents, Daesh apparently hopes to place pressure on the Coalition to de-escalate its air campaign against the group. Daesh is trying to push the narrative that the Coalition intentionally targets civilian installations such as the Tabqa Dam for internal audiences, seeking to alleviate bombing around Tabqa City and potentially prepare a false-flag operation.
Daesh finance update. Daesh still makes most of its revenue from fines and taxes levied on its residents. Additionally, while Daesh still uses its own issued currency, the dirham, for taxes, it continues to accept US dollars and Syrian pounds as well. This likely points to Daesh’s inability to manage its money supply as it loses ground and faces growing numbers of internally displaced persons in its territory. Daesh still draws oil from fields in Dayr al-Zawr Province, likely for internal distribution and consumption, which provides Daesh another source of income from residents. This oil may also be sold to the Syrian regime.