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Many Syrians fleeing Raqqa end up in Damascus

Reporter: Xu Dezhi 丨 CCTV.com

06-01-2016 10:32 BJT

In Syria - the fierce battle for ISIL-held Raqqa continues. The Syrian Army, backed by Russia, is attacking extremists from the south. While U-S-backed Kurdish fighters advance from the north. ISIL took control of the city two years ago, forcing many to flee.

The refugee center we visited is located in a south suburb of Damascus. Refugees here mainly come from ISIL-held areas like Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor. In an unfinished room, we meet Abu Muhammad, who fled Raqqa on his own last year. He told us what he knew about ISIL.

"ISIL took over everything, and made us inferior. They humiliate us. They did not allow us to live a normal life and stalked people everywhere. So one year ago, I decided to come here," said Abu Muhammad.

Muhammad told us, most of his relatives are still in Raqqa. After fleeing, there was no way to contact his family there, and he doesn't know if or when he'll talk to them again. He believes some family members are now imprisoned by ISIL.

Muhammad also said, "I can't communicate with my family. I cannot. I cannot talk to them. We can't call them or visit them. My relatives, my mother and siblings are all there but I can't contact any of them. There's no way to call them."

When asking about what he would want to say to his family, Muhammad's face frowned, with desperation and hopelessness.

"I wish my family members can be released. That's all I want to say. What can I tell them when they are being imprisoned I can't tell them anything because ISIL will chop them and throw their bodies away if they hear my words now," said Muhammad.

Muhammad dismisses the hardships he faced during his escape as well as his situation here in Raqqa - worried much more about his imprisoned family being beheaded.

He is an exception among the masses here at this camp. 1,000 refugees from Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor have arrived in last month. Most refused to talk to us, wrapping their faces with scarves, to hide their identities.Though they've escaped ISIL for now, fear still haunts them.

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