ISIS prevents remaining Christians, Armenians in Syrian city from leaving

A fighter of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria holds an ISIS flag and an assault rifle on a street in the city of Mosul, on June 23, 2014. | REUTERS/Stringer

The Islamic State terror group has issued a decree preventing the remaining Christians and Armenians in Raqqa, Syria from leaving the city.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a campaign by a non-violent group of activists in the Syrian city, has posted a series of tweets that give information on what's going on in the area. The group aims at exposing the cruelty of ISIS and the regime of president Bashar Al-Assad. 

On March 29, it tweeted, "#ISIS Issued a new decision to Prevent any Christians or Armenians people who Remain in #Raqqa to leave the city under any condition #Syria."

According to the activist group, a thousand Christians used to live there prior to the arrival of ISIS. The terror group gave them a choice: either pay extra taxes called "jizea" or die. Many of them left the city, but those remaining, mostly fathers or brothers who need to support their families, work mainly in their shops or in the industrial area. Now, the group counted only 43 Christian families remaining, with 2 to 3 members each. They surmise that these people might be used either as hostages or human shields.

Moreover, the militants issued a new decision that forces everyone in Raqqa to take "Religious courses in ISIS ideology and Jihad." Those who do not attend these lessons will be imprisoned for three months.

The campaign's Twitter account also gives updates about airstrikes as well as other forms of atrocity. These include raising taxes on trucks that cross ISIS territory, raising taxes for homes that use more electricity, and replacing female receptionists in clinics and hospitals with male ones.

The theft rate in the city has also increased due to the price hike on goods, primarily food.

According to the activist group, eight men accused of burglary were executed and crucified. A man accused of being a spy suffered the same fate.

In an interview with Fox News, David Curry, president and CEO of Christian advocacy organization Open Doors USA, said, "Any Christian living within Syria or Iraq is in a very dangerous and precarious position. We want to see the Christian church survive in the Middle East, especially in the areas occupied by the Islamic State."

Raqqa, located east of Aleppo, fell under the control of the Islamic State in 2013 during the Syrian Civil War.