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Geopolitics

Raqqa Residents Describe Life Under Unmerciful ISIS Rule

By satellite phone and email, people living in ISIS-controlled Raqqa, Syria, say fighters have stolen their houses, killed family members and even forced them to pay rent on properties they already own.

ISIS fighters parading through the streets of Raqqa
ISIS fighters parading through the streets of Raqqa
Younes Ahmad

RAQQAThe ISIS terror group has transformed Syria’s Raqqa province into what can only be described as an enormous prison. The Islamist fighters prohibit most people from traveling beyond the borders, even to other provinces, and communication with the outside world is limited.

Raqqa has also become a gathering place for the thousands of foreign fighters from dozens of countries who now dominate ISIS’s ranks. Locals say they have become virtual slaves to these extremist militants, who use brutal methods to maintain control. They also say that many have died at their hands, although the claims are impossible to verify. ISIS is also alleged to have seized thousands of houses from Kurds and others in the towns of Tal Akhdar, Tal Fandar and al-Yabisa, near the Tal Abyad area. These they have given to their fighters, who have come from around the world, including Uyghurs from China. Similar incidents have been reported in other parts of the province.

To understand what's happening inside Raqqa, Syria Deeply spoke by satellite phone and email with people living in the province. These are their stories.

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Society

"Stranger Things" Resurrects The U.S. Satanic Panic Of The 1980s

One of the major plotlines of the fourth season of Netflix's hit show, set in 1986, takes inspiration in the real satanic panic that swept the United States in the 1980s.

In Stranger Things' fourth season, Eddie Munson gets accused of flirting with the occult

Michael David Barbezat

From Kate Bush to Russian villainy, Season Four of Stranger Things revives many parts of the 1980s relevant to our times. Some of these blasts from the past provide welcome nostalgia. Others are like unwanted ghosts that will not go away. The American Satanic Panic of the 1980s is one of these less welcome but important callbacks.

In Stranger Things, season four, some residents of the all-American but cursed town of Hawkins hunt down the show’s cast of heroic misfits after labelling them as satanic cultists. The satanism accusation revolves around the game Dungeons and Dragons and the protagonists’ meetings to play it with other unpopular students at their high school as part of the Hellfire Club.

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