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Residents of Liberated Syrian City Near Aleppo Speak Out on Daesh Atrocities

© AFP 2023 / George OURFALIAN Syrian government forces walk near Islamic State (IS) group graffiti on a wall in Deir Hafer on the eastern outskirts of Aleppo on March 30, 2017, after they took control of the town from the jihadists.
Syrian government forces walk near Islamic State (IS) group graffiti on a wall in Deir Hafer on the eastern outskirts of Aleppo on March 30, 2017, after they took control of the town from the jihadists. - Sputnik International
Russian journalists visited the city of Dayr Hafir, which has been recently liberated by the Syrian army from the militants of Daesh, and have found the traces of the group's atrocities at almost every turn.

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ALEPPO (Sputnik) — The city of Dayr Hafir is located 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of Aleppo. Having liberated Aleppo with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces, the Syrian army continues to push Daesh out of its suburbs. Just the other day, the army managed to force the terrorists out of Dayr Hafir.

At the central square, the terrorists staged an execution area where militants beheaded or crucified people. There are still four T-shaped wooden crosses on which the militants left people to die under the scorching Middle East sun standing in the square.

"The militants executed those residents of the city who, in their opinion, did not observe the norms of religion. That is, they smoked, for example. Women were also killed if they were not properly dressed," local resident Hussein Ahmad, who once fled from Daesh, and now returned to his hometown, said.

According to Ahmad's testimony, the militants even made teenagers joining their ranks. Those who refused to join were at risk of becoming executed.

"As you can see, only seniors and small children from our village have survived. The rest were either killed or taken to Daesh," Ahmad said.

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Death sentences were handed out on the premises of the so-called militants' "sharia court," where you can still find the identification documents of those executed. The Syrian special services have taken up the task of trying to establish the identity and overall number of victims. Their work is eased by the fact that the militants, while carrying out their "justice," took minutes of their meetings and printed out death sentences.

A list of the "court" employees has been also found, but it only contains positions and nicknames rather than any real names, as the militants were afraid to reveal their true identities. Examples from the list include "Judge from the Persian Gulf," if you translate the name literally, and "Lawyer Abu Omar."

Those sentenced to death were held underneath these "courts." On the days of execution, as the refugees from Dayr Hafir claim, the terrorists rounded up the locals at the central square, where even children were forced to look at the medieval violence.

"I personally hid my children when the executions took place. After all, the terrorists forced even the smallest ones to look at the atrocities that they committed," local resident Ramadan Ibrahim said adding that the militants could execute one even for the fact of cutting a beard.

"I had a huge beard. I got rid of it as soon as I came here, "he said.

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Dayr Hafir was under the control of militants for almost three years. Terrorists managed to erect not only defensive structures in the city limits, but also infrastructure facilities.

For example, a military field hospital was under one of the city's bridges. The walls in the building are painted with suras from the Koran, and graffiti in the form of Daesh's flag in the middle. The place was chosen specifically by the militants, as the concrete overlapping of the bridge served as protection from shelling.

The conditions inside are completely unsanitary, dirty mattresses on the floor, scattered surgical tools.

"It was a hospital for the ordinary Daesh fighters. Conditions, as you can see, are terrible. Here we have found drugs from Western and some Arab countries," Rami Navras, Lt. Col. in the Syrian Arab army, said.

He added that the military was nevertheless shocked by the sight of the modern medical equipment the militants possessed. But, it was only the militants who could use the benefits of civilization, whereas the locals were subject to medieval conditions with their public executions and dungeons.

In the near future, bomb squads will start working in Dayr Hafir. When they will clear all the streets and houses, the city's residents will be able to return to the city.

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