Radical militants in Syria’s Raqqa and Aleppo have been forcing Syrian girls to marry them, by pressuring the families, a new report says.
According to Arabic language al-Sharq al-Owsat, people in militants-held areas of Syria are facing with a wave of forced marriages pushed by members of the former al-Qaeda representative in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), leaving the unlucky girls with a bleak future.
The paper wrote these marriages hardly last more than two months, since the militants are always being transferred to different areas and fronts.
ISIL has established a headquarters for itself in Raqqa and has been ruling according to its own version of law which is marked with extremist beliefs.
The forced marriages come at a high price for the victim families as in their dominant culture, especially in those with tribal backgrounds, family of the groom and keeping up with the traditions are very important for parents to give their daughters away.
There was even a case of suicide in Raqqa, the report said, regarding a girl named Fatima Abdullah Abu, who was under pressure to marry a Tunisian militant from the ISIL.
The suicide caused widespread reaction and rage among people in the town, the report said.
The paper further says, there are even foreign militants in Syria who have migrated to the country at the invite of ISIL along with their families. These families also prefer to have Syrian brides.
The paper cites locals as saying that, just recently, one of the ISIL commanders wanted to marry a Syrian girl in Raqqa, who refused to accept him. She was beaten up harshly by the militant because of her refusal to wed the man.
ISIL– which operated under the auspices of al-Qaeda until it recently severed the association – gained full control of Raqqa after lethal clashes with the Syrian army and the its former allies in the Syrian opposition, which left hundreds of dead.
The group has also been one of the most prominent kidnappers of western journalists, a number of whom are reputedly being held in ISIL prisons in Raqqa.
Although the brutal rule of ISIL in Raqqa has been well documented – most recently in an Amnesty International report in December, which detailed killings, arbitrary trials and detention and the abuse of children as young as eight – the new interviews that have emerged provide an intimate and chilling depiction of day-to-day life under the group.
Since taking control of Raqqa the group has banned music, signing and smoking, with the threat of severe penalties for any violators including public flogging.