Syria

'Ghouta Dry': Syrians produce soda despite crippling siege


Eastern Ghouta is under relentless siege by the Syrian government, with everything from medicine to basic foodstuffs unable to get through to the city. Despite the crippling blockade, an ingenious group of activists has managed to concoct a new fizzy drink: they’ve dubbed it 'Ghouta Dry'. Read more...
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How a Nazi artillery gun ended up in the hands of jihadists in Syria

The armed groups fighting in Syria's brutal civil war use any weapons they can get their hands on... even if those weapons are more than 80 years old. A video uploaded this week shows Islamic Front jihadists firing mortar rounds with an artillery gun built by Nazi Germany in the 1930s. But how did it get there in the first place? Read more...

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Jihadists in Raqqa asked to give up their Nike shoes

Since the Islamic State organisation took over the Syrian city of Raqqa in March 2013, the jihadist group has imposed many strict laws on the population, including forcing women to wear not just a veil but a niqab, a cloth that covers most of the face. Recently, the group has gone a little further in their sartorial commandments by asking vendors to stop selling certain brands that they find immoral. Read more...

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Raqqa activists slyly defying its jihadist rulers


The Islamic State group has ruled Raqqa with an iron fist since it seized control of the Syrian city more than two years ago, forcing its residents to abide by a radical vision of Islam. But activists, risking almost certain death if caught, are defying the jihadists by putting up posters on storefronts to denounce them. Read more...
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What people smugglers tell migrants seeking to cross into Europe


Social media has become the new way for people smugglers to advertise their services. They often post ads on Facebook promising migrants a comfortable, safe journey to European shores. To find out more, a journalist from the Observers team posed as someone seeking to help his friend enter Europe and contacted the smugglers via phone numbers brazenly posted on the ads. This is what we found out...
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The Yarmouk activist hunted by IS group jihadists

Since the Islamic State organisation (IS) launched an offensive on the Yarmouk refugee camp in the suburbs of Damascus, activists have gone into hiding to try to escape the jihadists’ roundups. One of them told FRANCE 24's Observers that he faces certain death if he is caught. Read more...

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Young Syrian comedians take aim at Islamic State group


The jihadist emir is busy smoking, drinking and sending 'selfies' on WhatsApp, but when a young recruit stops by, the emir quickly takes on the persona of a man of virtue. Strapping a belt packed with explosives around the young man’s waist, the emir promises him trouble-free entry to paradise. "We'll meet again!" he exclaims before sending him off. For some young Syrians living in Turkey, comedy sketches like this are a way to use humour to fight back against the Islamic State group's reign of barbaric terror and hypocrisy. Read more...

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Syrian shock campaign mimics IS videos – using children


Frustrated by what they see as total indifference from the media, Syrian opposition activists in Douma staged a scene mirroring the grisly death of the Jordanian pilot burned alive by militants of the Islamic State jihadist group. The chilling photo shows children dressed in oversized orange jumpsuits, squeezed together in a cage, with a burning torch in the foreground. Read more…
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How the Islamic State group steals UN food aid


These images have sent social media accounts into overdrive. Food packages belonging to the World Food Programme (WFP) are distributed in Syria - but with Islamic State group logos. Our Observers on the ground say that this isn't an isolated case. For several months, WFP aid packages have been handed out in areas controlled by IS. Read our testimony from Raqqa.
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Syrian prisoners of conscience attempt hunger strike


Dozens of inmates in the main prison in Homs, Syria, launched a protest last week to demand their freedom. Most are imprisoned due to their opinions; the majority was arrested during the very first demonstrations against the Syrian regime in March 2011. Some have already served their sentence but continue to waste away in prison. Read more...
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