ICC Note: An interview with a resident of Raqqa, Syria sheds light on what it is like for the few questions that remain in the ISIS stronghold city. They are confined to their homes much of the day under the threat of death. They have a jizya tax of over $500 that if they fail to pay will lead to their expulsion from their homes.
11/18/2014 Syria (Christian Today) The Islamic State (IS) is forcing the 23 remaining Christian families in Raqqa to pay jizya or a “protection tax,” Agenzia Fides reported Saturday.
Beginning on Sunday, the families were expected to pay the equivalent of $535, or be expelled from their homes.
There were once 1,500 Christian families in the northern Syrian city, but nearly all of them have fled since IS took over the city in August. US airstrikes in the area also caused Raqqa residents to flee.
“After the air strikes started, people got scared,” a Raqqa resident using the alias Abo Ward Al-Raqqawi told Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. “Some people escaped to Turkey or Damascus or to other government-controlled areas.
“In Raqqa, everyone is afraid of the air strikes. Raqqa is like a ghost town.”
The Christians that remain are unable to leave the city due to their age, health, or lack of resources, and face relentless persecution. Residents leave their homes for only a few hours each morning to gather food and other items, and the schools are closed. There is also the threat of death.