ISIS’s internal conflicts: “Alhesba” VS Security officials

Aghiad ALkheder – Sound and Picture 

The ISIS security office and “Alhesba” have been long known to be spreading terror among civilians in all ISIS controlled areas. The criminal and humanitarian violations practiced by both granted them a reputation that is often associated to murders and deaths. ISIS’s leadership has carefully selected its member from well-known circles of people who had proven criminal records.


“Alhesba”’s mission is well known among civilians, the group tails down those who break ISIS’s laws, religiously or even in their social life practices, civilians are punished in case of disobedience. “Alhesba” patrols are often spotted in the streets observing and arresting those who do not commit to “Islamic clothing” according to the ISIS Laws, which extends to more than just wearing a “Nikab”, but also to covering every inch of the women’s body, people who are also scene smoking in public are to be arrested by the same group. Certain amounts of money described as “penalties” are paid by civilians who break the laws. ISIS penetrated the society, in both its masculine and feminine division throughout this system.


However, one cannot but notice the similarities between ISIS’s security office and Al-Assad regime’s security divisions and prisons. ISIS’s security office’s role is to investigate with the detainees, observe all movements of ISIS members, to mobilize and invite more citizens to join the group, and to execute those who are charged with a death penalty by the ISIS courts, the security office’s members are often hiding their faces to avoid being recognized.


Regardless of the different strategies of work practiced by the ISIS security office and “Alhesba”, their urge to top one another and gain more authority and power created conflict and division, both sides tried to jeopardize the other’s work. In addition, the constant change of leaders from both sides created a competition between them, depending on the popularity of each side’s new leader, they act and react.


A man from Deir-Ezzour, who chose to be called “Fares” explained to Sound and Picture that ISIS’s security office is a “frightening name which people don’t mention due to its members’ oppression of civilians”. But recently, members of “Alhesba” played a major role in terrifying civilians with their intolerable public behaviors. In recent events, “Alhesba” members arrested an ISIS fighter, hit him and took him away in one of their cars. Now the civilians fear them much more.


Fares says: “We all know that pursuing and arresting fighters is to be done by the military police and the ISIS security office, yet, when “Alhesba” member do it, we can take it as a signal of power, a sign that they are becoming much more powerful.”, He adds: “If that ISIS member was pushed and pulled and hit and taken by “Alhesba”, can you imagine what they would do to an unarmed civilian?”


The situation in Raqqa is not so different, the expansion of “Alhesba” and it’s power gave the group the authority to control everyone’s lives, religiously and socially, they even started bullying ISIS fighters and commenting on issues beyond the trousers’ length or Nikab and smoking, civilians and fighters have been even arrested for missing a prayer, and the arrests are made in public with the presence of other civilians to convey the following message “Today, Alhesba is in charge”.


Sound and Picture’s Raqqa based reporter mentioned that “Alhesba” arrested two members of the security office near TalAbiad Street, insulting them without any apparent reasons. In addition, “Alhesba” took charge of many of the security office’s tasks like searching houses and deploying checking points, closing down internet cafes using cars and uniforms labeled with “Alhesba”’s logo.


The conflict between “Alhesba” and the ISIS security members is one of many existing conflicts between ISIS’s divisions, which is not so different from conflicts that erupted throughout the past years between ‘Ansar’ and ‘Muhajireen’ or even the tribal conflicts between members of different tribes with opposing affiliations.

The common results of these conflicts are: more violence among civilians whereas these groups try to regain power, prove it and maintain it, more deaths which are to be highlighted by ISIS as “Martyrs in the name of the “Caliphate”, based on blood and skulls, according to Al-Baghdadi’s description.

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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