Deir Ezzor – Sound and Picture

A month passed since Dr. Moqdad Fannoush’s death after being arrested by IS from the city of Mayadeen east of Deir Ezzor and  taken to military airport to carry out digging and forced labor as a punishment for having a water pipe. One day there was enough for him to be killed in a regime sniper shot during digging one of the tunnels in the airport perimeter.

This is the case of hundreds of people of the province who were taken by Is from their homes and city centers under multiple charges, including smoking and shaving the beard, to be herded to the battlefront to dig tunnels and strengthen IS’ defense points against regime forces which caused the death of many of them

Daily arrests under flimsy charges

Arrest campaigns waged by IS on a daily basis does not differentiate between men or women or even children.

Zaid Al-Fourati “Sound and Picture” reporter, said: ” the arrests happen mostly for no reason. IS arrested in the past month more than 2,000 people in its controlled areas in the province, some of them was released and some of them was kept for forced labor in the battle fronts”.

Al-Fourati also said: “The detention come on various charges, and some of them for trivial reasons, such as shaving the beard, being late for prayer time or not carrying a Siwak “teeth cleaning tool”.. etc. In the most of times detention simply happen because of suspicion without any evidence”.

Digging tunnels is their sentences

All of the arrested people by IS under these charges are sent for forced labor, which is digging trenches and tunnels and strengthen the defenses of IS on the fronts of fighting with regime forces in Deir Ezzor military airport and within the city. Specially in Hawijah Sakar area and Rashidea neighborhood.

Salem, one of whom had been arrested, said: “After three days of detention, IS sent me to the military airport for 10 days to dug tunnels and carry sand bags to secure IS mooring points. This is the work carried out by the rest of the arrested people, in addition to transferring ammunition during the battle”.

Salem added: “All the arrested men were civilians and have no military or digging experience. transferring ammunition during battles caused the deaths of a large number of them and injured others, in light of IS’ disregard for the lives of those”.

Death is their fate

A large number of detainees who were sent by IS for digging operations and forced labor died after days of work, as a result of their presence on the battle fronts between IS and regime.

“Sound and Picture” has been able to document the deaths of more than 20 civilians so far this year, who have been killed as a result of being targeted by regime snipers and bombing during tunnels digging. The military airport Front is the area where most deaths occur, followed by Hawijah Sakar, Rashidia neighborhood and other fronts.

All the dead men were civilians, the majority of them were young men and some of old men. Some of them were people with mental retardation who were arrested and transferred for forced labor.

Women forced labor

Women in Deir Ezzor are not excluded from arrests, but the punishment is different. As in recent months, activists has recorded a large number of women who has been arrested and sent for forced labor.

The punishment of women differ from men. IS usually sent arrested women for cleaning work in IS headquarters or the homes of some of IS leaders and other works.

Fatima from Mayadeen city, said: “I was arrested for lifting my veil in the city market. Hours after my arrest, Sharia judge decided that my punishment will be to clean up the headquarters of Hosba and the prince’s headquarter. I was released after being insulted and harassed by IS members during my cleaning work in headquarters”.

About The Author


Sound and Picture organization: We are a group of Syrian human rights activists. We noticed the lack of bodies which document abuses against civilians inside Syria, therefore we decided to establish this project, it is specialized to document the violations which have committed by all sides in the ongoing conflict in Syria against civilians in a professional way. The organization is documenting all kinds of violations, and working on the accounting for the groups which committed these violations by the international community. The organization is completely independent, and does not follow any political or military bodies, whether inside or outside Syria.

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