Deir Ezzor – Sound and Picture
Hosba is one of IS’ security strength sources that IS depends on in its control over Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, Aleppo countryside, Hasaka and all of its areas.
Hosba is a security system and an armed force that plays the role of “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice” as IS members says, but after the arrests and arbitrary executions and embezzlement carried out by this department, it lost this role.
Hosba staff Includes an armed battalion of women, which in turn arrest women on various charges, most notably for violating Sharia custom, but the women’s strength is different in different areas and the nationalities of women also vary, some are Syrian “Ansar” some are Tunisian, Egyptian and Saudi. Although most of the leaders are Saudi.
“Sound and Picture” reporters in Deir Ezzor province were able with difficulty and after a great effort to convince the people who have had bad experiences with Hosba to talk about their experience.
Abu Omar said: “We thought that Hosba in Shaddadi city in the southern countryside of Hasaka is the most rough and the most insidious branch of Hosba in IS-controlled areas, but the roughness of Hosba members in my town , my cosine is one of their staff, has exceeded all others. They follow the Syrian intelligence policy in torturing and violating human dignity, they arrest people by their appearance without having any charges against them and take them to Hosba headquarters located in the town and practice on them the worst kinds of torture, such as electricity shocks and stealth, which led to death in some cases. “
“One of IS Ansar members , a resident of Salhiya village in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor, informed Hosba staff in the village that one of my relatives dose not pray or go to the mosque and evaded IS Sharia course. Consequently, a large number of Hosba members came with two vans to arrest my relative and then they whipped him with 50 lashes in front of all villagers without trial, and took him later to Hosba prison. His punishment was prison for two months and memorizing five parts from Koran. However, his parents beseeched one of Hosba princes, to be released later after paying a fine of 100 thousand Syrian pounds and a pledge to pray and attend Sharia course”, Abu Omar said.
In the western countryside of Deir Ezzor, Our reporter succeeded after several attempts to take an exclusive testimony from one of the families that have had “cruel and heinous” experience, as they described, with Hosba staff in their area. The father chose the name, “Abu Ahmed” and the mother “Um Ahmed” for security reasons.
Abu Ahmed, trying to hide his tears, said: “I was in the village market when Two white Pickups of Hosba staff, just like what the regime’s Shabiha used to ride, came towards me. they handcuffed me and pushed me to the ground, and just before they covered my eyes I saw the one who is called “Jassar” who said to me: “I’m going to kill you ,apostate” Then they started beating me until I fainted”.
Abu Ahmed stopped talking for a few minutes with tears covering his face, then he said: “I opened my eyes to find myself inside a dark prison with about twenty others. Hearing an echo of screaming coming from outside the prison. I asked one of the men about our place and before I get an answer, IS member opened the door and called my name. He took me to Tunisian investigator who told me that I am accused of fighting IS with FSA or “Sahawat” as he called them, before IS control over Deir Ezzor, and that I did not attend Sharia courses hosted by IS. Then IS members started to beat me and did not leave me a chance to defend myself, and then they brought me back to the prison. After ten days of daily beating and insults they released me. Later I learned that my father paid a huge sum of money to “Jassar” in exchange of my release”.
Fear and anxiety signs appeared on Um Ahmad’s face. She hesitated to give any information but accepted later after several attempts, she said: “A group of IS Hosba women arrested me from the city market under charges of violating Sharia custom and that I’m wandering in the market without a male guardian. They also took 7,000 Syrian pounds under the pretext of buying a new Sharia dress, and they told me that if I did this again I would be punished with 100 lashes or prison. “
Many of locals whose conditions prevented them from leaving IS areas and who are oppressed by IS on a daily basis, consider Hosba to be a heavy security grip and the number one cause of fear and terrorism, to the point that men now are afraid to walk in streets with their wives and daughters.