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In the journey of life, your way may lead you to anywhere except IS controlled-areas and in particular the provinces of Deir Ezzor and Raqqa and east of Aleppo, which are fully controlled by IS. The life there is a monotonous experience that begins with deprivation and ends with it, and you find yourself almost forbidden of everything.
The life of misery and deprivation caused a wide wave of migration from the “land of darkness” as it’s called by locals, to anywhere in the world.
Salem, 26 years old from Deir Ezzor, said: “In my city, life has been stalled since the entry of IS, this forced me to leave. The life there is like living inside a dark tomb.”
There is a large migration movement from IS-controlled areas in the eastern and northern regions of Syria to Turkey, regime-controlled and FSA-controlled areas north of the Syria for many reasons, including unemployment, poverty and IS practices.
Abu Sarah from Raqqa, newly arrived to Izaz city in the northern countryside of Aleppo. He explained that he never thought about leaving his city, but poverty and lack of job opportunities along with IS practices, forced him to leave, he is going to move to Turkey in a search for a job to support his family.
Abu Sarah’s condition is no different than Abu Ali from Deir Ezzor, who left his house heading to Turkey to meet his two children whom he hasn’t seen them for more than two years after running away fearing IS wrath.
Abu Ali confirms that seeing his children and searching for a job to support his family were the main reasons for his trip, the other reason was to get rid of that “land of darkness ” under IS control.
Statistics, although discretionary, refers to the large numbers of immigrants on daily basis from IS areas. Entire families, youth, children and women, couldn’t stand the life there because of IS practices therefore, they went out looking for a life in the unknown.
Zaid Al-Fourati, an activist from Deir Ezzor, confirmed that there are no accurate statistics for the number of departures from IS-controlled areas. However, the numbers are estimated to be about 20% of the total population there.
Al-Fourati said “Among the causes of migration and displacement are economic ones after the increase of poverty and unemployment. Some are for security reasons, because of the fear of IS oppression, especially for people who have fought regulation and their families, as well as IS laws and the severe and unfair punishments imposed on civilians.
The checkpoints between IS and FSA areas could put an end to the dream
Abu Saeed, a young man from Hawayej Bu Massaa town in the western countryside, moved out of his town to Aleppo countryside and from there headed to Turkey to search for a job, but his dream ended at a checkpoint in the countryside of Aleppo when he was arrested and handed to “Opposition Shamia front” after accusing him that he is one of IS fighters.
According to Abu Said, who spent a month and eight days in prison while being brutally tortured to extract a confession, He was released to complete his journey, he said: “We run away of oppression to another oppression, anyone who lives in IS-controlled areas is considered to be an IS fighter. Vice versa, anyone who is coming from FSA-controlled areas to IS areas is considered to be a sleeper cell’.
What happened to Abu Said is similar to what happened to Faisal. He was arrested by regime forces while he was on his way from Raqqa to Damascus. He was charged to be one of IS fighters and stayed in regime’s prison for nine months to be released later.
Faisal said in his local accent: “Our situation now is like living between two evils”, in an indication that their life under IS control is death and their escape is as well
Many arrests were recorded of people who live in IS-controlled areas on both of Islamic brigades and FSA checkpoints, and the same is happening in regime-controlled areas.
Ahmad al-Halabi, a human rights activist, said: “the number of detainees from Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, Hasaka, Albab and Menbej reached about 1,000 detainees of different ages, all of whom have been arrested on charges of belonging to IS, and a large number of detainees also in regime prisons and other armed factions in Idlib and others areas .While most of the detainees are imprisoned falsely with no proof, leaving them without a trail”.
Attempts to release the detainees and others to stop these arbitrary actions
Abu Humam, one of faction leaders in the north of Deir Ezzor said: “We carry out an intensive pressure to release all innocent detainees, and we try to find an understanding point between all opposing factions of IS in order to develop specific conditions of detention and to stop throwing accusations haphazardly against who run away from IS areas. “
Moreover, many appeals launched by activists and leaders of armed factions in Deir Ezzor and Raqqa to release these detainees, asking to end these abusive practices carried out by some of their compatriots, but they have not succeeded till now.