The Ghost of Marrying “Immigrants” dominates ISIS Areas

The Ghost of Marrying “Immigrants” dominates ISIS Areas
Facebook Share



Lylia Nahhas




Since ISIS’s announcement by the beginning of 2014 that Raqqa province is its capital, its expansion to the north and east of Syria, and its military control of every area, it has adopted the habit of attempting to merge with the communities it controls. It attempts to get closer to them by trying to marry off its militants to the girls in those areas and by having good and cordial relations with the community, which has tribal characteristics, especially in the countryside of Raqqa and Deir Alzor. Those attempts are often accompanied with restrictions imposed on women’s freedoms, beginning with the imposition of the religion’s dress code (based on their claims). This is comprised of the long gown and the veil which covers the face and eyes, and preventing women from movement without a male guardian or preventing them from travelling except for health reasons or special cases.



Activist Hala Aldeiri says to Suwar Magazine, “Closing schools, institutes, universities, public clubs, and cafes has increased restraint on women to the degree that most of them just stay home.”

“Women in Raqqa are afraid of wandering in the streets alone for fear of being harassed by ISIS members, because their patrols stop young women in the street to say impolite words to them. They also offer to marry them for big dowries, which makes the community cautious and drawn back considering that it is conservative in nature. But they can do nothing towards the imposed fait accompli policy,” adds Aldeiri.


Poverty, the most important reason to marry “Immigrants”


Drought, which hit the eastern area together with the recession and the lack of employment, has increased the state of poverty which has become widespread in these areas, especially the rural ones. On top of this, ISIS has banned aid organizations from conducting their work. This has led to halting most humanitarian aid, leaving hundreds of poor families in sheer poverty, especially the displaced ones from areas in Syria aside from Raqqa and Deir Alzor since they were secure areas two years ago.



Um Ahmad from the Mayadeen area says to Suwar Magazine, “Poverty is the cause of every problem. It pushes families to marry off their daughters to the first suitor who proposes to them in order to cut down on expenses. In addition, the society’s culture which is based on tribal traditions pushes them to marry off their divorced and widow daughters for fear of stigma.”

Moreover, political goals play an important role for some tribes in terms of marrying off their daughters to ISIS fighters in order to gain their trust, get closer to them and avoid their evil. This demonstrates mutual interest between the two sides: ISIS and some tribes.”


Activist Umran Muhammad says to Suwar Magazine, “The massacres committed by ISIS against the Shahlil tribe made many change their policy towards the organization and try to be friendly with them to avoid their evil through marriage with the organization’s members and pushing some of their young men to volunteer with them.”

Despite the fact that many segments of the society hate and reject the organization, there are many Syrian families who are convinced of their beliefs and consider marrying their daughters to their members to be the best choice for them.



Um Ahmad says, “There is a percentage, no matter how small it is, of religiously constricted people, before the Syrian revolution, who have gone farther with extremism. Their daughters before the revolution were veiled and didn’t go out of their houses and were deprived of learning. Today, they have paid allegiance to the organization and have become part of it. They marry from it and marry off their daughters to its members.”


Absence of Origin


The inhabitants of those areas have become used to hearing languages they never heard before. Omran Aldeiri says to Suwar, “Now you hear English, French, Afghani, or Russian as much as you hear Arabic, in addition to hearing many different Arabic accents, Moroccan, from the Arab Gulf, Jordanian - and we got used to the broken Arabic. Most foreign fighters speak Arabic. Their real identity is unknown as they have pseudonyms like the Tunisian Abu Hafs and the Afghani Khattab and hundreds of other names. Most of them enter Syria with false ID documents - which makes marriage contracts fake as the marriage agreement is facilitated by a sheikh (religious figure) related to the organization as well as witnesses from them too. This deprives the wife from any rights in the future and makes newborns’ identity unknown from the side of the father.”



“Most of those members are polygamous. Every place they go, they marry a woman from the same area. Nobody knows the number of their previous wives,” Um Ahmad says.

She adds, “I once heard a conversation among the members of one of their patrols encouraging each other to get married and have many children to support ISIS and provide it with new fighters.”


Um Ahmad draws attention to the risk of marrying them as most of them die in battles. They have come to be martyred, based on their belief, or move to other areas in Syria or Iraq.


Specialist’s opinion


Regarding the issue of Syrian women marrying members of ISIS, Suwar Magazine consulted Mr. Riyadh Drara, a former imam in Deir Alzor’s mosques, who said, “In principle, they are humans and have the right to marry. Marriage is an agreement with the consent of both sides.”


In past months, activists talked about stories of suicide attempts and young women’s attempts to escape. Their families try to force them to get married to immigrants or Syrian ISIS members with an age difference that might be more than ten years.


A female former nurse in a hospital in the Deir Alzor countryside tells Suwar about “cases of sexual, physical, and psychological violence ISIS members caused to their wives as a result of violence during intercourse with them.”


“Women secretly talk about stories of abnormality and huge excessive desires those fighters have, and these behaviors are strange and disapproved of in our society,” she adds.



About the causes of those behaviors, psychologist, Faten Alhomsi, tells Suwar Magazine, “The multi-nationalities of those fighters and their different customs and cultures play an important role in the spread of these phenomena. Besides, their abnormal and unstable life is an essential factor that governs their personalities and behaviors. Many of them have spent years in the most rugged areas in Afghanistan. These circumstances impose on them a different behavior from that of our society and its traditions. Many females may think this is strange, but these stories are there and common, especially during wars. After the American invasion against Iraq, many media sources have reported such stories of evident sexual abnormalities among the soldiers of the alliance forces.”


“The religious fatwas by ISIS sheikhs make marriage easy for their members. In addition, the abundance of money and power makes them more capable of that, especially within the context of young men having to travel outside Syria as well as the situation of illiteracy and poverty which aggravate and complicate things more,” she adds.  


She also says, “Unfortunately, ISIS didn’t allow civil society organizations or other associations to stay to protect those girls and women from the fighters’ savagery. However, local communities have to try to spread awareness even verbally through discussions among women.”


Alhomsi suggests alternative solutions and says, “I have noticed the abundant spread of internet and social media, so I think activists and girls have to adopt organized awareness campaigns through social media for the hope that they will come up with good results and will be an alternative to the presence of organizations in those areas.”






Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry

Follow Us on Facebook
© 2019 Suwar Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Boulevard