Living in ISIS capital a cycle of torment, activist says - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Living in ISIS capital a cycle of torment, activist says

Airstrikes from Syrian national forces hit the ISIS capital (Source: CNN) Airstrikes from Syrian national forces hit the ISIS capital (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - In the Syrian city of Raqqa activists say their reality is a big contrast to what ISIS fighters portray on social media.

In Raqqa, the day begins with airstrikes by the Syrian Assad regime.

It's the start of a terrifying cycle to daily life in the ISIS stronghold.

ISIS propaganda photos purport to show a calm city, going about normal life.

Its fighters boast about enjoying their favorite imported foods on Twitter and Facebook.

ISIS even posts recipes to the wives of fighters, advising them on the best method for fluffy pancakes.

But life is otherwise, say activists inside Raqqa. Children line up for handouts at an emergency soup kitchen.

Chronic food shortages and hyper-inflation. Hospitals are empty of supplies, with few doctors. Airstrikes have targeted power stations. So, electricity is sporadic, at most four hours a day. Activists inside spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The ISIS,  there are different dealings with the civilians. The ISIS they have the VIP so they have their own hospitals, they take the best food, they take the best houses, the best cars, the ISIS give them money but they do not give the people anything,”  a Raqqa activist said.

And then there are the public executions in what was Raqqa's "paradise square." Anyone considered an enemy of ISIS is killed here, their bodies put on display. ISIS has promised to make Raqqa a model of the Islamic State. Activists inside say it's anything but.

"ISIS is publishing the videos of propaganda, their own propaganda, to make making Raqqa a paradise. So yes it's paradise for ISIS, but its hell for the people of Raqqa,” the activist said. 

If Raqqa's residents survive the day, then at night they live in fear of coalition airstrikes. But ISIS does not seem to be losing its grip on the city, leaving residents to live through this terrifying cycle again, and again.

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