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How ISIS and coalition airstrikes combined to terrorise Raqqa

Raqqa became a centre of Islamic State activity during Syria's civil war
Raqqa became a centre of Islamic State activity during Syria's civil war Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Anelise Borges
Published on
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Amid Syria’s civil war, Raqqa became known the world over for being the stage of some of the most horrific episodes of violence perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State.


“One day they (ISIS) came to my mother’s house and asked why I was working with human rights...because in their mentality, that is a sin. So they told her I should abandon my work - and she asked me to stop because she knew them and understood this was a dangerous indirect threat.”

Mohammad Jasem Shaban is recalling what happened when the Islamic State group took over his city of Raqqa - ultimately forcing the human rights activist to flee.

Ten years after the start of the conflict in Syria that helped to spawn the terror group, former Raqqa residents, now safe in the Swedish city of Eskilstuna, look back at the horrors that made them escape their country.

Doctor Ismail Kadro and Doctor Hamza Alkhedr, now medical doctors employed by the local hospital, say beyond the trauma caused by the take over of Raqqa by ISIS, the people also suffered a four-month air-strike campaign led by the US, estimated to have killed 1,600 civilians.

Doctor Ismail Kadro lost his mother, brother, sister-in-law and nephews in an airstrike on 8 January 2016.

“I don’t know who bombed my house, who killed my family,” he says. “I don’t know. Maybe Assad, maybe America, maybe France, maybe British, maybe Dutch...I don’t know.”

Watch Muhammad, Ismail and Hamza’s story in the video player above.

In a series of reports on Syria on the 10th anniversary of the start of the conflict, Euronews explores the war through the personal experiences of people forced to flee Syria and seek refuge in Europe.

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