Raqqa activist group RBSS under scrutiny for making pro-ISIS propaganda


An ISIS militant uses a mobile to film his fellow fighters taking part in a military parade across the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa city. File photo

ARA News

Raqqa – The activist group ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’ (RBSS) is coming under increased scrutiny for making pro-ISIS propaganda and ethnic chauvinism, and trying to undermine the SDF-led campaign to capture Raqqa from ISIS.

Sharvan Darwish, spokesman of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Tuesday accused the RBSS of distorting events in Raqqa, saying the group is “competing with Nazi propaganda and Turkish government propaganda” instead of focusing on the Raqqa civilians liberated from ISIS terrorists by the SDF forces.

However, the group denied the accusations. “SDF spokesman keep accusing RBSS for being with ISIS because we publish the violations against civilians in the area,” the group said.

The RBSS, which is based in Turkey, opposes any involvement by the Kurdish-led SDF in Raqqa.

The activist group has earlier also opposed the SDF operation in Manbij, which was liberated from ISIS by SDF forces in August.

Some Kurds have accused the Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) activist group of having links with the Turkish authorities for trying to undermine the SDF.

In the meantime, Abdul-Aziz al-Hamza, one of the founders of the RBSS backed the ISIS group when the group threatened to take the Kurdish town of Kobane, calling Kobane “Ayn al-Islam”, a name only used by ISIS.

“ISIS now sweeping the rest of Ayn al-Islam to purge the last remnants of communist PKK forces,” he said in a tweet on 8 October, that he deleted later.

Ibrahim Kurdo, the foreign relations head of Kobane Administration told ARA News that the people of Raqqa are waiting for the SDF forces to liberate their city from ISIS terrorists.

“I lived in Raqqa, and I know the people of Raqqa very well. The people that back ISIS are a minority; the majority are waiting for the SDF to liberate them,” he said.

“Raqqa city is not very far from Tel Abyad. When the SDF forces entered Tel Abyad city [in June 2015], they didn’t persecute any non-Kurdish communities.Tel Abyad was not liberated in the name of Kurds, but liberated by the SDF,” the official told ARA News.

“That’s why the people of Raqqa are familiar with this idea of liberation, and will warmly embrace the SDF forces once ISIS is expelled,” he said.

However, the RBSS group says Raqqa civilians are opposed to the SDF.

Bader Mustafa, a member of the Kurdish Youth Movement (TCK), told ARA News that he is surprised by the attitude of Syrians towards any project by the Kurds.

“What would be better for a population that has been living for over three years of Daesh [ISIS] tyranny and extremism; Those people of Raqqa need to be liberated, no matter by whom,” he said.

“This group [RBSS] has repeatedly asked the world’s help to kick ISIS from Raqqa, but when the SDF started the Raqqa liberation operation, the RBSS started complaining even before the first bullet was fired with endless accusations against Kurds,” Mustafa said.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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