Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Inside ISIS’s Torture Brigades

 ' “They have a cage in this square,” Abu Khaled said, describing the place where ISIS justice is meted out in al-Bab. Abu Khaled was describing a place I’d been. I was in al-Bab during Ramadan 2012, in the relatively early days of the revolt against the Assad regime, when the town was still controlled by local rebel forces, and I saw how that same square came alive at night when activists, rebels, or local civilians transformed themselves into ad hoc cleanup crews—the Free Syrian Street Sweepers—picking up detritus and rubble left over from regime shelling, or manning field hospitals in the basement of the local mosque, because the real hospital in al-Bab had been targeted and badly damaged by the Syrian military.

 Abu Khaled listed the crimes of high treason: “Working with the FSA [the “Free Syrian Army,” an allegedly moderate collection of rebel groups], that’s capital punishment. Working with the mukhabarat, CIA, or foreigners—capital punishment.”

 “In Aleppo, people have electricity for maybe three or four hours per day. The electricity station is in Asfireh, ISIS-controlled territory, near Kweris airport. So the regime pays for the fuel to run the station. It pays the salaries for the workers because they’re specialized and can’t be replaced. And ISIS takes 52 percent of the electricity and the regime takes 48 percent. That’s the deal they have with Assad.” '

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