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Rare Footage of Raqqa, Syria, Shows Calm Streets in ISIS' Capital

Residents living under the rule of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria, say the calm is maintained through fear and violence.

There are few obvious signs of anything out of the ordinary in ISIS' capital city. Food sellers and overflowing stalls open onto the dusty streets of Raqqa, Syria, while women wearing veils push strollers along the sidewalk. But residents living in the ISIS stronghold say the militants maintain that calm though violence. "Everything has changed in the city of Raqqa since ISIS has taken over and we have been living in a state of fear," a 21-year-old salesman who asked not to be named told Transterra Media. "They do field executions in front of our eyes."

Raqqa is among the cities overrun by ISIS before it decreed an Islamic state covering parts of Iraq and Syria earlier this year. The rare footage of Raqqa's streets shot by Transterra hints at ISIS’ oppression: A man with a rifle slung over his shoulder wanders past and ISIS graffiti covers a central monument. "ISIS is patrolling all over the city to ensure the application of laws they imposed on us," said one 19-year-old woman who is training to become a tailor. A 13-year-old boy added: "The day ISIS took over Raqqa they took our childhood from us. They don't allow us to go to school anymore."


- Sarah Burke and Alexander Smith