WASHINGTON — In northern Syria, al-Qaeda elements are restricting freedoms in the province of Raqqa. The al-Qaeda-linked forces have beaten rival rebel forces in the region and look to consolidate their winnings.
Reuters reported that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a known al-Qaeda affiliate militant group, has banned the playing of music and public postings of images of people in Raqqa.
Other restrictions are the sales of cigarettes, water pipes and that women must wear the niqab (or face veil) in public. Men are also obligated to attend Friday prayers at mosques. The punishment for violating such laws falls under Islam’s sharia law.
The Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad continues to hold its ground in the capital and other outlying areas as the rebels are righting each other.