Culture

Former ISIS prisoner details the group's crimes in new book

Syria

Former ISIS prisoner in al-Bab prison, Khalifa al-Khudr, details the crimes that the militant group had committed in Aleppo and Raqqa, in his new book, which he titled "al-Kana'eis".

In a new book entitled “al-Kana’eis”, the former ISIS prisoner Khalifa al-Khuder details the militant group’s crimes committed in Raqqa and other former ISIS-held areas of Syria.

The 25-year-old-author from the city of Aleppo was arrested by ISIS in the northern Syrian town of al-Bab on June 3rd 2014 after his friend informed the group that he was working as journalist, reporting on affairs deemed to be against the so-called “caliphate”.

“I was documenting the violations committed by ISIS in eastern Syria, the province of Raqqa and the eastern countryside of Aleppo,” said al-Khuder. “A so-called friend informed ISIS that I was working as a journalist, so I was arrested while passing through a checkpoint.”

According to al-Khuder, the title of the book “al-Kana’eis” is inspired by the surname of a family that resided in the countryside of Aleppo and was known to be stubborn and ultra-conservative. When ISIS entered their village, the “Kana’eis” family joined the militant group and was assigned the duty of collecting religious dues. “I wanted to mock ISIS by calling my book ‘The Kana’eis,’ which, to me means anyone who hates modernity,” said al-Khuder on his TV program ‘With Khalifa.’

The book narrates stories of the various prisoners that al-Khuder knew before escaping from one of the group’s prisons. “There are ten stories. The first story is about a small child from the city of Manbij. The brother of this child informed ISIS militants that he was with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), so he was imprisoned and executed in al-Bab,” explained al-Khuder. “Another story talks about an innocent young man who came to check whether his brother was in jail or not and was arrested [by the militant group].”

The 10th chapter of the book outlines the author’s return to the prison after the capture of al-Bab by the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA). During this journey, al-Khuder found out that many of his cellmates were either killed or had emigrated outside of the country.

As a result of this experience, the inspiration for the book, which received the Samir Qasir Award for Independent Journalism, was born.

The documentation of ISIS violations is crucial for the future generations who will only hear about the militant group, not having experienced their tyranny first-hand. It also helps raise awareness about the crimes that this group has committed against the residents of the areas that they invade.