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07/07/2021 Syria (International Christian Concern) –  Hesba, the Islamic State’s religious police, increased its presence and activity in northeast Syria. The region, under control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), now faces threats against civil life that is not fully in compliance with Sharia law.

Hesba called on residents to not engage with the SDF or US coalition, demanded women not wear makeup after they stopped a taxi transporting women to work, commanded all women using public transportation should be covered according to Sharia, and urged traders and farmers to pay the Islamic charity, zakat.

Islamic State is Syria restructured itself in 2019 in an effort to expand its influence. “The cells revived the Hesba apparatus in an attempt to revive the civil branch of IS. The terrorist group sought to transition from security and military operations to imposing its laws on civilians. [The Hesba] has killed a person who claimed to practice sorcery, burned a liquor store, confiscated large quantities of tobacco to prevent their sale and done many other things. This shows that IS aspires to expand its influence among civilians in order to control a larger area in the future,” said Syrian journalist Orabi Abdel-Hay Orabi told Al-Monitor.

Regarding the Islamic State’s comeback and approach method, the founder of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Fadel Abdul Ghany, said “IS is exploiting the popular anger against the SDF in light of the latter’s weak services. It is trying to get residents to compare these services to the services it provided when it controlled the area.”

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