Syrian women dehumanized under IS Caliphate

Women obliged to wear veil in IS-held Syrian city of Raqqa. File photo

ARA News

Urfa, Turkey  – Throughout the three-year-old conflict in Syria, people suffered displacement, detention, torture and death by the pro-regime forces, according to observers. However, with the militants of the Islamic State (IS) joining the conflict, violence mounted and the scene became bloodier than ever.

Speaking to ARA News, Syrian political activist Razan al-Kurdi said that division was enhanced by the interference of IS in Syria. “The Syrian land is more divided now because of IS policies.”

“People now are not only suffering from Assad regime but also from IS militants who commit more violent atrocities of killing, slaughtering, crucifying and lashing which human beings cannot bear,” Al-Kurdi said.

Jihan Othman, a Syrian refugee woman from Raqqa currently based in Turkey’s Urfa, believes that IS was willing to undertake the regime’s tasks of arresting and torturing activists in areas out of the regime’s control.

According to Othman, women are the most vulnerable and helpless group in IS-held areas.

“Under the rule of IS extremists, women are obliged to be committed to the Islamic dress (veil); otherwise they face severe punishment,” she told ARA News.

The Islamic State (IS), an al-Qaeda offshoot, released a statement to the public of the Syrian northern city of Raqqa to justify their rules concerning women, admitting that veil is a restriction, “but for the good of our Muslim women, it protects them from turning sinful”, according to the statement.

“In IS-held areas, women are not allowed to use make up or perfumes either,” Othman said.


In mid-July, 2014, a Syrian woman was “stoned to death” by IS militants before an audience of dozens in central Raqqa, local sources told ARA News.

“They (IS militants) accused her of fornication,” an eyewitness (who preferred anonymity) reported.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported similar cases in Tabqa city near Raqqa. “IS members stoned a Syrian woman to death on charges of fornication.”

“The woman was brought to the public market in the city (Tabqa) where the punishment took place. One day later, another woman faced the same destiny,” the Observatory said.

Marriage Office

Al-Kurdi talked about other “distorting” and “humiliating” practices against women by IS group, mentioning the office opened recently by the Islamic State in the city of al-Bab, northeast of Syria’s Aleppo.

“The office receives single women as well as widows and marriage-seeking girls who want to get married to IS militants,” al-Kurdi told ARA News.

“Names and addresses of these women are registered, then IS fighters go to their houses to pick them up as official wives.”

According to al-Kurdi, IS practices against women have nothing to do with Islam as a religion. “This is a distortion of women’s image by a sick masculine thought which intends to turn women into slaves rather than partners. Such behaviour has nothing to do with Islam itself.”

Al-Kurdi thinks that the marriage office dehumanizes women, adding that such a step will lead to more dangerous practices.

Many activists, especially those who escaped from IS, believe that the Islamic State added more miseries to Syrians’ lives, whereas previously the Assad regime used to be the sole “enemy”.


Reporting by: Sherin Perik

Source: ARA News

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