Raqqa activist describes Islamic State extortion tactics

July 9, 2015

Recently, the Islamic State published a video of the execution of two Syrians accused of working for the “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” campaign, specifically with the well-known activist Hammoud al-Mousa.

Here, Mousa describes to Ammar Hamou how IS contacted him, seeking to get the names of activists working with him as ransom for the release of his father. “Two days later, [the IS official] made me a different offer: Hand over three people working for our activists.” Mousa refused, and IS executed his father because of it.

Q. One of the anti-Islamic State activists in A-Raqqa posted online your text conversation with an IS supporter trying to get you to turn on your activist colleagues by naming names. How did IS do that?

A message was sent to my WhatsApp from a Turkish number. After replying, he introduced himself as “Abu Qatada, the communication official.” He demanded that I hand over three individuals who worked with us in the city in exchange for the release of my father. However, I refused.

Two days later, he made me a different offer: Hand over three people working for our activists. I refused this as well. After I refused, they contacted me again. They executed my father, and filmed his confessions and his execution.

Q. IS published a video two days ago of the execution of two people accused of personally working with you. Before that, they executed your father. Why is there such a focus on you and not on the campaign “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently?”

The activities that I have undertaken since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, my work under my real name, and the popular support that I enjoy, makes the most powerful factions fear civilian voices.

Q. Do you believe IS has been able to silence people and reduce the resistance activity against them or will that increase the process of exposing them and their human rights violations?

I will answer with the saying “they did not kill anything except for our fear.”

Q. Did they recognize the execution of your father only because of his relationship to you through kinship, or did they accuse him of another crime?

In their video, they accused him of being an “agent of the international coalition.” 

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