[Marxism] Black flag is now the only one in Raqqa

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Thu Sep 19 06:27:49 MDT 2013

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Juan Fajardo" <fajardos at ix.netcom.com>
> "Aug. 15 ISIS pushes FSA unit the Ahfad al-Rasoul brigades out of the 
> city of Raqqa, after detonating several suicide car bombs, including 
> one that destroyed the brigades' headquarters there."
> 'Rebel-on-Rebel Violence Seizes Syria' (Wall Street Journal, September 
> 18, 2013)
> http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324807704579082924138453120.html

More on this, and a detailed description of the situation in Raqqa more 
generally, both the good and bad:


But hope rests on the youth and the various civil society blocs they 
created following the liberation of the city. There are currently 
forty-one civil society organizations in Al Raqqa and though the scope 
and effectiveness of their activities varies hugely from one to another, 
they provide incontrovertible evidence of Syrians' desire to restore an 
effective role to civil society. There are groups for rights activists, 
for the independent media, for teachers and students, for activists from 
the non-violent protest movement, for those working in development, 
small-scale economic projects and emergency relief. There are even 
groups for the theatre and the arts. Some of those who work in these 
groups were detained two or three times by the regime prior to 
liberation. It is they who give you hope. Their voices carry a weight 
that cannot be ignored. Moreover, these groups play a role in 
maintaining dynamic and flexible relations with the armed groups. These 
relationships are vital for keeping channels of communication open 
between the two sides, channels in which personal contacts are of 
supreme importance. All these forms of interaction are vital to the 
process of identifying and isolating those who communicate poorly or 
outright refuse all communication (ISIS, for instance). These days, Al 
Raqqa's residents increasingly tend to distinguish between those who 
bear arms to continue their struggle against the regime and those who do 
so to impose a dictatorship of another kind or to triumph in purely 
local power struggles. All these types are present in Al Raqqa today. 
Most of the time, public reception is the determining factor in one 
party gaining the ascendency over others.

Despite their weariness and the difficulties of their daily lives (all 
of them serious obstacles blocking the revolutionary's movement's return 
to full strength) there are clear indications that the city's civilian 
population is unwilling to tolerate these new dictatorial practices. 
Souad, a primary school teacher, leaves home every evening to 
demonstrate in various locations around the city, carrying signs that 
reject ISIS's behavior and demanding the release of all those they have 
detained. Souad often goes to stand outside their headquarters, an act 
of open defiance, prompting some of its members to try and dissuade her 
from her what she is doing.

On the evening of August 10, in response to the harassment of civilians 
by members of the Ahrar Al Sham Movement, residents gathered together 
spontaneously, their assembly becoming a fully-fledged demonstration 
against the actions of the Movement's members. Some members of the 
Movement then opened fire to disperse the demonstrators, and the city 
seethed with rage, only for the Movement to issue a statement hours 
later in which they declared that the members responsible for the 
original grievance had been dismissed and those of them who had fled 
were being pursued to bring them to justice.

A few days later on August 14, when ISIS detonated its car bomb about 
the headquarters of the Ahfad Al Rasul Brigade in the old train station, 
civilians attempted to intervene to remove the wounded and allow passage 
to ambulances. Once more they were dispersed with gunfire from ISIS 

These events take place against a backdrop of rising anger at the 
ongoing abductions of well-known figures in the city, to which was added 
the rumour that Father Paolo had been murdered by his abductors. The 
rumour was later denied, but confirming any information about the group's 
prisoners remains impossible due to the inaccessibility of sources 
within the group itself. The most recent information concerning Father 
Paolo was leaked by a mujahid who had left the group and informed those 
close to him that he had seen Paolo alive at the Al Baath Dam (which is 
under ISIS's control) before he was transported to another headquarters 
in the village of Al Akirshi, near Al Raqqa.

These successive events appear to be indicators of a deepening enmity 
between Al Raqqa's civilians and the armed brigades, ISIS in particular. 
The civilians do not seem to be in a position of strength when it comes 
to these types of confrontations, yet at the same time they have never 
before been so determined and set on continuing their struggle. Every 
single person I met saw themselves as part of a popular and radical 
revolt that has not yet ended. They had removed a totalitarian and 
tyrannical regime from their city. Today, they see this achievement as 
just one step along the long and hard road to their goal: a free, just 
and proud nation.And they do not look like they will be giving up any 
time soon.


More information about the Marxism mailing list