Monday, April 1, 2013

Since the fall of al-Raqqa city into jihadi factions' hands in mid-March 2013, many observers have been keeping a close eye on the city to see how the jihadi factions will apply Shari'a on the inhabitants of that city. Either by, forcing it directly on people or letting people apply the provisions of Shari'a a step by step after gaining peoples ' hearts and minds.

Many reports have been made [1][2] narrating how these factions secured the city of al-Raqqa as soon as it was liberated, in contrast to the huge chaos and looting that happened in Aleppo [3] when Free Syrian Army [4] entered the eastern side of the city.
"So far, the city has avoided the disorder of a post-regime security vacuum. Very few homes were looted. The banks and the money in them have been secured, while government and security offices were not ransacked and the paperwork within them was not burned. Instead the files have been collected and are being studied. The city’s two churches in this majority Sunni Muslim area are untouched and protected."
The key question that remains unanswered, is  by what manners the jihadi factions are going to  rule  the 1st major fallen city, and what will be the reaction of the inhabitants of al-Raqqa  towards this drastic change by applying Shari'a from now on. Probably it is still early to know, but few indications started to popup  that help to give a tentative answer.

As some of you know the Islamic factions reject the Syrian revolution flag:

Instead they adopt the Islamic banner known as "rāyat al-`uqāb".  Text on the flag reading, 'No God, but Allah, and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger,'  'لا الله إلا الله محمد رسول  الله'

What seems interesting, is that the jihadi factions are likely to avoid confrontation with the inhabitants. These can be clearly seen by a letter signed by the 'emir' of Nusra Front jihadi faction in al-Raqqa provenance allowing the inhabitants to hang the Syrian revolution flag anywhere in the city.

On the other hand, it seems that the civilian branch of these factions launched a campaign by distributing flyers in an attempt to convince people  to give-up the revolution flag and adopt instead  the Islamic banners.

 It is too early yet to measure peoples' reaction in al-Raqqa  city towards islamizing their life. But it is important to know that some marches start to be seen calling for applying Shari'a as well as in many other parts of the country.

[1] Rania Abouzeid, “How Islamist rebels in Syria are ruling a fallen provincial capital,” Time, March 23, 2013.
[2] Elizabeth O'Bagy, "GOVERNANCE IN REBEL-HELD SYRIA," Understanding Wars, March 28, 2013.
[3] Jamie Dettmer, "Lawlessness Spreading in Rebel-held Syria,March 28, 2013
[4] Elizabeth O'Bagy, "THE FREE SYRIAN ARMY,March 2013


  1. The Flyers were from Hizb At Tahreer
    Ahrar ash Sham and Jabha an Nusra probably have nothing to do with them.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. Yes you are probably right. However, this article meant to be for the jihadi factions in general and not only for Ahrar al-Sham or Nusra Front.