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Ayssar Midani speaks on the fate of the women of Raqqa

Date de publication: 16.06.2016

Women from the Al-Khansaa brigade in Raqqa

Syria: the path to Peace.


The role and experiences of women and religious minorities

by Ayssar Midani, President of the Daughters of Ashtar Foundation (Syria)


16 June 2016


Life and Suffering in Raqqa since 2013


For nearly six years the Syrian people has been living according to the rhythm of terrorism and death. Before 2011, Syria was the fifth safest country in the world.  Inter-communal relations were excellent because  the population feels Syrian first and only secondarily Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever. Religion, denomination or ethnic origin were considered a private matter; it was also very much respected and indeed regarded positively.  Syria has existed for 10,000 years and cultural diversity is part of our heritage.  It is in our genes.

Terrorism was imported 2011 in our country for the purpose of dominating the country and exploiting its resources.  This is the cause of the suffering which the Syrian people has endured for all these years.

In this destructive and dirty war, women and children have been especially targeted.  Terrorists from 130 countries started to apply a version of Sharia law which has nothing to do with Islam but which is inspired by the Wahhabi ideology of Saudi Arabia.  The Saudi ruling family is behind this aggression against Syria: ideologically because it inspires Wahhabism and financially because it pays people off (including members of the government and civil service).  It pays for the recruitment, training and arming of terrorists

Turkey is the other pole of this aggression, also recruiting, training and sending terrorists across its border into Syria.   During the current cessation of hostilities, which has been in force since February, than 9,000 terrorists have come to Syria across the Turkish border. Russia has documented all this by satellite photos which have been given to the UN and the Security Council.

Financially, Turkey supports Daesh, Al-Nosra and many terrorist groups acting in Syria directly or indirectly  by buying  the Syrian and  Iraqi oil, cereals, and archeological Artifacts which these groups have stolen.

Despite numerous resolutions of the UN Security Council (2253, 2254 , 2199, and 2178)  concerning Daesh and Jabhat Al-Nosra, the UN and the so-called International community continue to deal with countries who are  supporting terrorism, while at the same time imposing sanctions against countries and organisations who are fighting terrorism such as Syria, Russia, and Hezbollah.

In my speech today, I would like to discuss the suffering of all people but especially the women of Raqqa under occupation by Daesh.


Raqqa before 2013 

The city of Raqqa was a pleasant and developed city on the north bank of the Euphrates, 160 km east of Aleppo and 40 km East of Tabaqa, Syria’s largest dam.  The city was the capital of the Abassyd Califat Harun Alrashid (796 - 809) and it hosts many monuments of this era and before. Raqqa is the sixth largest city in Syria.

The original population of the province was 1,059,000 in 2012, according to Central Bureau of Statistics in Syria. The city expressed great solidarity with the other destroyed cities from Syria: Raqqa welcomed and hosted all displaced people coming from Edleb, Homs, Aleppo, Deir Zor and so on.


Al-Nosra and Daesh in Raqqa 2013 - 2016 

In February 2013 the city was captured by the Al-Nosra Front and the so called  “Free Syrian Army,” who set up a Sharia Court at the Sports Centre of the City, and transformed the main public park, called Annaim, into a place of execution and torture.

On 14 May 2013, Al-Nosra carried out mass public executions in the city's main square of people accused of  supporting of President Assad, the Mayor of Raqqa and  people from the administration. In early June 2013, Isis took the control of the city. Al-Nosra therefore prepared the ground for the arrival of Daesh in Raqqa.


The hard life of men, women and children  

Daesh invented a so-called Sharia rule which has been codified in a book.  A staff of guardians, mostly fresh converts to Islam from Europe, are charged with enforcing it. Their role is to ensure respect of these rules in streets, schools, markets, public places and even homes.

The Al-Khansaa brigades charged with supervising women are mostly foreigners from USA, Britain and France, married to men from Daesh

Women have to be completely covered with a black niqab reaching from head to toe; they have to wear over it a kind of leather shield to hide any possible bodily shape.  In summer in Raqqa, the temperature rises to 50 degrees Centigrade in the shade, which makes it torture to wear such clothing.

Girls and women are forbidden to go out without being accompanied by a guardian, a man of their family - their father or brother.  If they do not respect this rule, they are arrested, flogged and punished.  Girls have ceased to leave their homes, for fear of harassment and arbitrary arrest.

A woman is not allowed to work with a man to whom she is neither related nor married. Doing so is considered "promiscuity" and is punished by flogging and a prison sentence of between three days and one month.

Colours are forbidden: only black and white are allowed.

Schools and universities have been closed.

Families are obliged to give their daughters in marriage either to Jihad Nikah or to the terrorists; if they refuse, the father is punished by public flogging, girls are raped in front of their families and badly beaten.

The recommended age of marriage, according to the Daesh rules of conduct, is between 9 and 16.  If the families or the girls refuse, they are beaten and put in gaol where they are mistreated, raped and abused.  A large number of girls commit suicide.

Girls are forbidden to go to University.

Christians are obliged to follow the same treatment and have to convert to Islam or pay the infidel tax, jizya.

Music and TV are forbidden.  Recently Daesh obliged all people to throw their televisions away.  This policy is strictly enforced with severe sanctions.

Smoking is forbidden for all.

Every Friday, the court executes the sanctions in the public square of the city, “ Anaim Square”, and all inhabitants have to be present.

The Hisbat troops who are mostly foreigners, men and women, are very severe and aggressive with the population.  The Al-Khansaa brigade for women used to use an instrument with steel teeth to bite women whose clothes are not in conformity with the rules.  Hospital doctors have seen some very bad cases of injury.

40 doctors have been beheaded for treating women (crime of promiscuity)

Women medical doctors have been beheaded because of treating male patients (crime of promiscuity)

A boy killed his mother because she asked him to leave Daesh


Democratic countries and UN responsibility

These horrible terrorists were described as democratic forces by the mainstream media in all Western countries, who presented the rebellion as a revolution against a dictatorial regime. These same media accused the Arab Syrian Army of committing crimes against humanity.  This support continues in spite of the atrocities committed by the terrorists.

Throughout 2013 and 2014, the Western countries simply denied there was any terrorism or atrocities at all.

In 2014, after the proclamation of the Islamic State, Western countries and the UN started to recognise the existence of terrorism.  However, they continue to blame the Syrian government for causing the situation in the first place.  Thus the aggressor is transformed into the victim.


The demands of the Syrian people to the UN

Strict application of the UN Charter especially non-interference in the internal affairs of states.

The right of the Syrian people alone to chose its president and constitution.

An end to the economic siege of Syria:  sanctions have been applied to the Syrian government which is defending the lives of the Syrian people and its safety.  These  sanctions have made the life of the Syrian people worse and increased its suffering.

By the end of 2015 the results of the war include: 500,000 people killed;

7 million internally displaced people and 3 million refugees;

1.5 million handicapped;

60,000 - 70,000 girls raped;

Tens of thousands of children recruited into armed terrorism;

Hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans.

This is a very heavy price paid by the Syrian people to defend its sovereignty and its right to decide its president and constitution.


Stop supporting terrorism

Apply all the decisions on fighting terrorism and sanctions against all countries supporting terror - resolutions 2177, 2178, 2199, 2253, 2254.

The UN should to impose economic and political sanctions on those countries which are supporting, arming and financing terrorism: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel.

All countries involved in this war against Syria must pay compensation for the very high damages caused.

All countries should help to get rid of terrorism and to rebuild Syria.

All means for recruiting terrorists among the world should be sanctioned.

All media diffusing hatred and terrorist propaganda should be shut down.  Owners of such outlets should be forced to pay reparations.

The borders with Jordan, Turkey and Israel should be closed to stop terrorist infiltration into Syria.


War crimes and ethnic cleaning in Syria  

Stop double standards and punish all war crimes


The struggle and victories of Syrian women

Women play a role in civil society organisations promoting solidarity and reconciliation, and in providing medical care and social aid.  They participate in self-defence organisations to defend their villages and their families.  Many have joined the army.  They are active in cultural life and the arts.  They are active in public life: the president of the National Assembly is a woman.  One eights of members of the National Assembly are women.  These victories will help us to create a prosperous and peaceful Syria.




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