Mazen Hassoun Profile picture
Mar 4, 2018 38 tweets 16 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
THREAD: The full story of Syria's #Raqqa 'The Capital of Liberation' from the uprising until the devastation:
Raqqa is the Syrian city, situated northern eastern Syria. 1970s the Euphrates dam was built and turned the poor small town of Raqqa into a city.
During the evolution process of Syria, Raqqa's share of development projects was small & most of the resources were stolen by Regime's officials and the state budget was being stolen by Hafiz Assad and his loyal elite. Therefore Raqqa city remained one of the poor cities of Syria
In 1980s the uprising of 'Muslim Brotherhood' in Hama started. Later some cities like Aleppo and Idlib joined the uprising. Raqqa city also started to act against Hafiz Assad,
however the security grip was so powerful and many Raqqawis were arrested and jailed for decades, while others were executed.
One of my uncles was jailed for 12 years, while other was executed in Tadmor Prison ( #Palmyra Prison). My Arabic teacher was jailed for 20 years and a lot of other Raqqawis suffered at that time of the arbitrary arrests by #Assad gov.
Saying "My damn life" could cost you half of your life in prison and participating in an anti-Regime actives won't just cost you years of prison, your family will also be arrested therefore and jailed for years.
This was only a small side of Hafiz Assad Regime dictatorship that tortured Syrians over the decades and turned #Syria into a kingdom of fear and injustice.
2-The Revolution:
Raqqa was one of the first cities that joined the uprising against Bashar Assad in 2011. The first demonstration in Al-Naim roundabout on 24.Mars.2011 was brutally suppressed and many of the demonstrators were arrested.…
Bashar Assad thought that he would win Raqqa on his side against the revolution so he went to Raqqa on Eid (Islamic feast) in 2011 for the first time in his life and prayed in its 'Al-Noor' mosque,
in the meantime Raqqawis organized a protest against Assad but unfortunately the protest couldn’t make it and reach Assad because of the Syrian intelligence.
Besides Bashar #Assad tried to win tribal leaders on his side, but even the tribal leaders couldn’t stop Raqqawis from opposing the Regime and participating in the revolution.
We have to mention that until the end of 2011, nine month since the demonstration in #Syria started, all the protests were peaceful and we didn’t ever used weapons against the gov at that time, even after the intelligence and security have killed a lot of protesters.
After losing hope from an international intervention to stop Assad massacres & the failure of UN world security council of protecting protesters stopping Regime crimes, the uprising turned into armed revolution to protect the civilians, Raqqa carried also weapons to defend itself
In the meantime Assad regime did an important move that it has really effected later on changing the balance of power in Syria. The Regime released all the Islamic and extreme prisoners in Sydnaya prison that he jailed them for decades.
Most of the Islamic groups leaders even many of ISIS's leaders and founders in Syria were jailed in Sydnaya and released in 2011.
Most of the fighters that joined and founded FSA in Raqqa were local fighters who are just simple ppl who wants their freedom and peaceful life and without any future visions. only a very few who were Islamic.
3- The liberation:
In 2012 #FSA started battles against #Assad regime and librating the villages, towns and cities that suffered by Regime over the years. #TalAbyed near the Syrian-Turkish borders was the first city controlled by FSA.
In the meantime #Raqqa continue protesting and demonstrating against the Syrian government that kept shooting and killing the peaceful protesters.
In 15.03.2012 the teenager Ali Babnsi was the first Raqqawi who killed by gov in the city, the day after Raqqa went out in on of the most biggest demonstration in the Syrian revolution. Approximately 300k protesters, half of Raqqa province population.
On 04.03.2013, this day five years ago, the FSA and other opposition groups librated Raqqa city and the entire province of Raqqa after battles and oust Assad regime forces outside the province, only three military location remained surrounded outside the city.
Raqqawis managed to smash Hafiz Assad statue in Raqqa's main yard. With tears of joy and crying we stood to see Assad's fear kingdom being collapsed, People were hugging each others didn’t believe yet that Assad really has gone and Raqqa is free.
I was living in Raqqa until that time. After the city was librated ppl of Raqqa started to rule their own city without any dictatorship. Many civilian organization were created and activities and campaigns for consolidating the values of democracy in the society.
We cleaned the streets and painted the city walls in the revolution flag and phrases about democracy and freedom. The city became beautiful and such an amazing place. We lived with freedom and dignity. For me it was the most amazing part of my life.
Therefore #Raqqa was called 'The Capital of Liberation' because it was the wanted example of the new #Syria.
4-The rise of ISIS:
We were almost there, we almost achieved our dream, then #ISIS showed up. Unlike what some propagandas and media said, ppl of #Raqqa have resisted ISIS and we protested many times against their actions.
By abducting and kidnapping those who opposed it #ISIS eliminated most of its enemies in Raqqa, most of them were our friends and families. Until today we have no idea about their fate, whether they are alive or dead.
In the beginning of 2014, Syrian opposition started attacking ISIS in Syria, Raqqa also joined the fight on 05.01.2014. The battles against ISIS in Raqqa continued for 17 days. I myself filmed this video from the first front.
But the #FSA couldn’t endure because of the lack of fund and ammo, beside #Idlib and #Aleppo oust #ISIS and drove them towards #Raqqa, in addition to treasons that I'm not going to speak about for now, because it may take long time.
The whole world was watching what is happen in the meantime including the US that stood silent in front of what is going on in #Raqqa.
If the world intervened and supported #FSA in that time, #ISIS wouldn’t capture wide areas in Syria and would remain only a small terrorist group and would even reach Paris, Brussel, Britain, Germany and the #US.
One important thing about Raqqa and #ISIS. Most of Raqqa residents are Sunni Muslims, there are also Christians, Shiaas and few Alwis all these components were living together peacefully.
The Islam of these Sunni majority was simple and moderate and wasn’t a suitable environment for extreme group like ISIS. However the one of the main reasons why Raqqa was ISIS's de facto capital is that Raqqa community wasn’t cohesive.
#Raqqa remained for nearly four years under one of the most brutal extreme group in our century. Raqqawis subjected to horrible extreme rule, those who disobeyed were crucified and executed in the main yards in the city.
5-The fall of the Islamic state:
On the first of June that battle of Raqqa launched by SDF and they managed to capture the city and oust ISIS for ever from Raqqa on 17th October,
however the price was very high, #Raqqa has been brutally destroyed and over 1800 civilian got killed due US-led coalition irresponsible air strikes that intentionally targeted most of the time civilians.
The City of #Raqqa has been left today for suffering from #ISIS's legacy, as activist called it, and civilians keep dying because of ISIS-planted landmines, in addition to homelessness because of the total devastation (UN estimated 80% of the city has been destroyed).
The full story of Syria's #Raqqa 'The Capital of Liberation' from the uprising until the devastation.…

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