A Syrian underground resistance movement is reporting that women are being tortured by the Islamic State with a bear-trap device placed around their breasts for violations of sharia law.
The group, called “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently,” reported the most recent case of the horrific torture of mother who was caught breastfeeding her baby at the central bus station in Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State’s de facto headquarters. Another case was reported by a 24-year-old woman whose niqab (face veil) was deemed too transparent.
Both women were picked up by the notorious all-female Al-Khansa Brigade.
The device, called a “biter” is thought to be similar to a Medieval torture tool referred to as the “Breast Ripper,” which was used to rip off or shred the breasts of women accused of various crimes such as adultery or aborting a pregnancy.
The 24-year old woman, identified only by the pseudonym Batol, said, “[T]hey took me to the ‘Hesba’ headquarters in the city, and escorted me to the torture chamber, then they asked me to choose between a whip or a ‘biter.’ I did not know what a ‘biter’ was, and I thought it is a reduced sentence. I was afraid of whipping, so I chose the ‘biter.’ Then they brought a sharp object that has a lot of teeth and held me, placing it on my chest and pressing it strongly, I screamed from pain and I was badly injured. They later took me to the hospital.”
“I felt then that my femininity has been destroyed completely,” Batol continued, “I was not the only one that was tortured with this instrument, there were a lot of women in the headquarters and their situation was tragic.”
In an earlier interview with the Clarion Project, Abu Mohammed from “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently” offered the following information about the situation inside Raqqa:
Clarion Project: How many people support the Islamic State in Raqqa?
Mohammed: I don’t have exact numbers but not more than 20% of the population. Significant opposition exists, but we are the most active inside Raqqa.
Clarion Project: Do high ranking Islamic State officials walk freely and openly in Raqqa?
Mohammed: Known Daesh [Islamic State] officials are never visible. For example, a short time ago, there was a person in the city named Abu Ali al-Anbari, a leader in Daesh, but (his face) was unknown to the people of Raqqa.
Clarion Project: Is the Islamic State forcing all men and boys from Raqqa into their army? How do they go about that?
Mohammed: They are not forcing them to join in a direct way, but rather through bribery (with money) or by intimidation, threats or starvation.
Clarion Project: What is the situation regarding water, electricity, food and other basic essentials in Raqqa?
Mohammed: The situation with water and electricity is very bad. Sometimes there is no power for 18 hours at a time, sometimes there is none for days. Food can be found but at much higher prices than before the Islamic State came into Raqqa.
Clarion Project: How difficult is it to leave Raqqa? Is the Islamic State issuing its own travel documents and monitoring its borders?
Mohammed: Travel is easy for men, but they are asked where they are going, what they will be doing and what they are bringing with them. Everything is inspected. Women must be accompanied by a man — either her husband, brother or her father. The Islamic State issues its own travel documents for those working with them.
Clarion Project: It has been reported that fathers are being pressured into marrying off their daughters to Islamic State fighters. Is this true?
Mohammed: They are pressuring families in this regard. The methods differ depending on the size of the family as well as other factors. For example, if the daughter comes from a large family, they try to persuade them that she will have better conditions married to an Islamic State fighter. If this doesn’t work, they just intimidate them. If she comes from a small family, it is pure intimidation and then more intimidation.