R.H.R is a former FSA fighter who had been pushed to stay with his family in Deir Ezzor to finish some of his work, as his father used to work as a merchant. After Daesh cut off the road leading to the FSA-held territory in northern Syria, his departure was delayed, forcing him to stay longer than he expected in Deir Ezzor. He is married and has a 24-years-old daughter.
R.H.R joined the FSA as the Syrian revolution evolved into a military uprising. He had fought against the regime on the front of the military airport before the arrival of Daesh in the province, which was followed by a halt to all military operations on the orders of the organization who also confiscated all FSA weaponry.
He says, “I was arrested on Ramadan 20, 2015, at 2.00am. They had knocked on my door and when I opened it, a Daesh fighter asked, “Where is R.H.R” and I replayed by saying “It is me.” Then he said that you will come with us for 10 minutes then we will bring you back home. They put me in a small white vehicle belonging to Daesh-run department of security, and after they drove a distance of 100 miles, they blindfolded me and began asking me several questions, as we were still inside the vehicle.”
The interrogation was as follow:
Daesh interrogator: Have you registered in any repentance session?
I: Because I did not fight against “the Islamic State”
Him: Therefore, you did not repent to Allah. What are the types of weaponry that you possess?
I: I have no weaponry at all
Him: You are a liar, we are fully aware that you have some kind of weaponry.
After that, the vehicle stopped at an unknown location, which tuned out to be a Daesh office. They took me to the office and suddenly began beating me right and left for around an hour until I confessed to the possession of a Klashinkov, which I was hiding in my house.
Him: You will accompany us to your home and then we will bring you back to the office so that you sign a document in which you promise that you will never buy any type of weaponry, and you will have to acknowledge that you were wrong towards “the Islamic State”, as you had bought a weaponry secretly.
“We returned to my house, took the Kalashnikov, and handed it over to them. I was then transported back to the office, which I knew that it was located in my city. I stayed at the office for two days, and the third day I was once again interrogated.”
The interrogator: What is your position at the FSA formation?
I: A fighter
The interrogator: Where did you fight?
I: On the front of the Deir Ezzor Military Airport.
The interrogator: Did you kill any regime fighters there?
I: I am not sure, I fought several battles but I still do not know if I killed any regime fighter or not.
The interrogator: How long did you fight on the front?
I: I fought on the front for around a year.
The interrogator: Did you fight against “the Islamic State” when it entered the province of Deir Ezzor ?
I: No, I only fought against the Assad-regime.
(After my last answer, the interrogator accused me of being a liar and started beating me while being blindfolded and handcuffed. After 15 minutes passed, he once again began interrogating me)
The interrogator: Are you affiliated with any “treacherous” FSA brigade. If yes, where are the rest of your comrades?
I: No one is left but I, they all headed to Turkey.
(The interrogator and some other Daesh members subjected me to severe torture as they continued accusing me of being a liar, after a while, they started asking more questions about the brigade.)
The interrogator: Write the names of the fighters affiliated with the brigade, or mention them orally.
“In response, I mentioned all the names I knew, and every time I paused to remember other names, Daesh fighters would beat me and say, “Carry on” until I told them all the names I could remember.)”
“I was then transferred from the jail to a security headquarter in the city of Al-Myadeen. During the morning, they took me to the interrogation office and told me that I was innocent; however, I should undergo a repentance session on the orders of the Sharia judge in Al-Myadeen.”
I was taken, along with other detainees, to a room where they took pictures for us, which they will use for registration in repentance sessions that will last 35 days, during which no one is allowed to visit you, and you stay enclosed inside a room.
The detainees learn some rules of Islam, payers and other law, then they are tested in the knowledge they acquire from the sessions. There is always some who succeed and some who do not, with other pledging their allegiance to the group, which is followed by military training sessions.
“After 35 days passed, I succeeded in passing the last exam of the sessions, then I was blindfolded, along with some others, and transported to the city of Al-Myadden and I was released.”