Last updated: 12 May, 2014

Syria jihadists ban mannequins in shops

Syria’s most extreme jihadist faction issued a ban Monday on mannequins in shop displays and the sale of women’s underwear to male customers, a monitoring group said.

The decision by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in their northern stronghold of Raqa also bans men and women shopping together unless he is her husband, father or brother, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Observatory also said ISIL has decided that traditional garments on sale must be neither “tight, transparent or ornate”.

Raqa is the only provincial capital in Syria to have fallen from the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and it is now completely under ISIL control.

ISIL is believed to be holding some 1,000 hostages in Raqa, rights groups say, many of them peaceful activists, rival rebels or civilians caught committing “crimes” such as heresy or smoking.

The group also carries out frequent public executions, with some victims reportedly crucified in Raqa.

While rebels fighting to topple Assad initially welcomed ISIL in Syria, its systematic abuses and bid for domination turned much of the opposition against it.

In January, rebels and rival jihadists launched a major offensive against ISIL, whose fighters were pushed out of swathes of northern Syria but managed to maintain their grip in the east, near the border with Iraq, where the group originates.