State imposes media controls in Syrian province
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[August 01, 2014]
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State,
the al Qaeda splinter group which has seized parts of Syria and Iraq,
has told activists in Syria's Deir al-Zor province they must swear
allegiance to it and submit to censorship, a monitoring group said on
The militant group imposed the rules after a meeting on Tuesday
with activists involved in media work, the British-based Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights said.
International media organizations have little presence in Syria and
rely on activists and other sources to provide information on what
is happening in the country.
Islamic State also told the activists they must recognize the
caliphate, based on their strict interpretation of Islam, that it
has declared in the parts of Iraq and Syria it controls.
It also said they must stop using the term "Daash" to describe the
group. "Daash" is the Arabic acronym for the group's previous name,
the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and is mainly used
by people who oppose it.
The Observatory, a Britain-based group which reports on Syria using
a network of sources on the ground, said Islamic State also banned
activists from working with television channels immediately.
They were told that any videos, pictures or written reports needed
to be reviewed by the Islamic State's "Information Office," before
Islamic State, which has been fighting rival rebel groups and
government forces in Syria, has its own media operation distributed
on social media and militant internet forums.
It used its media arm to effect in June when it announced the
creation of the caliphate in statements in a series of languages. It
has also produced videos showing the group's leader and celebrating
its military advances.
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Elsewhere in the country, the group has carried out beheadings and
mutilations after finding people guilty of crimes and has set strict
limits on women's rights as part of its campaign to forcibly impose
its radical brand of Islam.
In the eastern city of Raqqa, the Islamic State's stronghold, the
group even executed people who had supported the revolt and carried
out other actions which have intimidated activists.
In Iraq, the group has been systematically stamping out any
religious or cultural influences they deem non-Islamic since their
sweep through the north in June.
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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