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How ISIS Controls Life in Its Caliphate

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Pamela Engel reports in Business Insider:

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ISIS has been tightening security along the borders of its “caliphate” to prevent people from fleeing, according to locals familiar with the terrorist group’s territory.

And ISIS — aka the Islamic State — seems to be keeping a closer watch over its populace.

People who live in Raqqa, Syria, the de-facto capital of the group’s territory, which it calls its “caliphate,” are now reportedly forced to register with the militant government.

There are restrictions on what people can take in and out of ISIS-held cities. And women aren’t allowed to go anywhere without a male relative escort.

“Leaving the city is now really hard,” Abu Ibrahim al-Raqqawi, an activist with the group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, told Business Insider recently. “The problem is not going to Raqqa, it’s how to get out.”

Raqqa is the center of ISIS’s operations in the Middle East. Raqqawi — who uses a pseudonym — still travels back and forth from the city with the help of smugglers, he said. His family remains there.

Raqqawi said ISIS confiscates passports to make it more difficult to travel and forces people in the city to register so the militants can keep tabs on everyone.

“They are not allowing women to leave the city if they are not over 45 years old, and they are not allowing boys to leave the city if they are not over 19,” Raqqawi said. “After the statement that, ‘We want to register every boy in the city over 14,’ people are very afraid of the recruiting and want to leave.”

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