Refugee who fled ISIS 'capital': Kids patrolled streets with AK-47s
December 7, 2015 8:19 pm
Suleiman locked his front door for the last time and slipped the key into his pocket though he knew he’d never need it again and he took one last look at his home then shepherded his family into the darkness
Humming neighborhood generators pierced the still air.
The stars illuminated the surrounding landscape and their path to freedom from Raqqa, Syria — ISIS’s de facto capital city.
A smuggler had agreed to take the family of five across the border to Turkey for less than $500 — still a lot of money for someone living on $150 a month.
As the family trudged through fields to avoid ISIS checkpoints, Suleiman’s three children began to whimper and Suleiman cradled his youngest in his arms. They had to be quiet. If caught, the punishment would be severe. It’s illegal to leave the so-called Islamic State.
The former teacher is now in relative safety in Turkey with his wife and children after making their escape. He spoke to CNN exclusively about the horror of life in Raqqa: being terrorized on the streets by ISIS and bombarded by warplanes from several nations. CNN cannot independently verify Suleiman’s testimony and has not used his last name for his protection.
Suleiman supported the uprising against Bashar Al Assad — but after years under ISIS Suleiman and his wife finally had enough.
“I left Raqqa for my children. Their lives were being destroyed,” he said. “I came to Turkey to build a new future for them and delete everything they saw.”