Al-Qaeda Accused of Torture, Executions in Syria

AQI Territory in Raqqa a Land of Secret Prisons, Torture

Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has made much of its recent gains in Syria, setting up a state of its own in held towns across the nation’s north, including virtual control of Raqqa Province.

Amnesty International’s latest report offers the first glimpse of life under AQI rule, and unsurprisingly the picture isn’t pretty, with the group accused of myriad human rights abuses.

AQI is attempting to impose a particularly harsh interpretation of Sharia law on Syrians, who had before the civil war been living in a relatively secular society. It’s tough going as AQI routinely detains people for “crimes” like smoking or extramarital sex.

Once detained, Syrians (some as young as eight) are sent to a series of at least seven secret prisons across Raqqa, where they are subjected to torture, beatings, and summary executions.

Amnesty urged neighboring Turkey to prevent its territory from being used to bring new weapons and recruits to AQI, and cautioned the Gulf states against arming or otherwise funding AQI’s capture of territory.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of