The PJ Tatler

Syrian Anti-ISIS Journalists Beheaded... in Turkey


A member of the bravest journalist alliance operating on the planet — Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, which smuggles news of ISIS crimes out of the Islamic State — was beheaded at his home along with a friend.

But Ibrahim Abdul Qader wasn’t in the Islamic State at the time of his murder. He was in Şanlıurfa, Turkey — making the crime all the more chilling.

Abu Mohammed, the founder of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, tweeted confirmation of the news, noting that ISIS accounts were taking credit for the brutal slayings of Ibrahim and his friend Fares Hamadi. Both men were in their 20s and from Raqqa, which ISIS claimed as the capital of the Islamic State, and had been operating from Turkey for about a year.

Ibrahim was managing editor at Syrian Ayn Vatan newspaper and Fares was a reporter there.

If ISIS catches a member of the underground journalist/activist movement operating in their territory, the punishment is certain, public death. But this is the first time a member of the group has been murdered in another country.

“We promised each other to return to our country,” Abu Mohammed tweeted this morning with a photo of Ibrahim. “I’m sorry I can’t fulfill my promise, I could not protect you.”

One ISIS tweeter responded to Abu Mohammed with, “Think America and Erodogan protect you… just around the corner from knives.”

Abu Mohammed said Ibrahim knew that he would die for his work, saying recently, “I’m smelling the death smell.” Members of the group constantly receive threats.

“With …sorrow we mourn the martyrdom of Ibraheem Abdulqader,” Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said in a statement. “He was a hero and will stay immortal inside of us.”

Abu Mohammed vowed, “We will resist, even from under the dirt.”

Turkish media reported that Syrian friends of the men discovered their bodies, and a hunting knife was determined to have been used in the murders.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently is a small group who work anonymously, and they’ve made a huge impact with their work in what would otherwise be an ISIS propaganda black hole. They’ve broken many stories, including the failed rescue attempt to save James Foley before his murder.

This year they were honored by the Committee to Protect Journalists’ International Press Freedom Awards.

“The group’s Raqqa-based members secretly film and report from within the city and send the information to members outside of Syria, who transfer the news to local and international media. Since its inception, RBSS has publicized public lashings, crucifixions, beheadings, and draconian social rules, thus providing the world with a counter-narrative to Islamic State’s slickly produced version of events,” CPJ said.

“We call for an immediate and thorough investigation by Turkish authorities into these heinous murders and to bring the culprits to justice,” said CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia Program coordinator Nina Ognianova today. “The risks to journalists operating in Syria are well documented. These murders show how the grave risks journalists face in Syria have metastasized across the porous border with Turkey.”