Homeland Security

Anguished Raqqa Residents Burn Abayas, Shave After Liberation from ISIS

A Syrian family who fled Raqqa arrive at a refugee camp in Ain Issa, northeast Syria, on July 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Raqqa residents liberated from ISIS have been recounting tales of horror of life under occupation by the terrorist group while expressing joy at their newfound freedom by burning ISIS-mandated coverings and shaving their beards.

A video released by the YPG, a Kurdish force fighting under the multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian Syrian Democratic Forces umbrella, shows families being unloaded off pickups and receiving food and water.

“They killed my father,” a woman cries while clutching her children. “They killed my husband. They fired a mortar at my house. My husband was outside; he was hit and killed.”

Women quickly peel off the black abayas and veils that were required by ISIS. “Give me a lighter, I’m going to burn this!” declares a woman who just stripped off the black covering. “May these clothes they forced us to wear be damned!”

“Burn these!” another young woman yells as an unveiled woman tries to get the fire going. “May Allah burn [ISIS]! They burned my father. They burned my father. I wish he was with us now in this happy time.”

“They burned my father! May Allah put fire to their hearts.”

Another woman tearfully tells of how ISIS killed her son because he wouldn’t pray, and a man breaks down while talking of what the terrorists did to his family: “I had a daughter, too. I lost her.”

At the end of the video, a barber snips away at a man’s beard. “Cut it all off,” the soon-to-be-shaved man orders. “Cut it all just to spite them.”

The YPG also released footage of a makeshift clinic in which a doctor treats fleeing Raqqa residents, who can’t get care at coalition medical facilities, and even captured ISIS fighters.