Last updated: 17 April, 2015

IS issuing photo IDs in Syria’s Raqa: monitor, activists

The Islamic State group is now issuing photo identity cards in Syria’s Raqa province, but only to males, along with a range of administrative documents, a monitor and activists said Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said IS had begun issuing “identity cards to those without proof of identity and boys over the age of 13 in Raqa province.”

The Britain-based group published a photo it said was provided by civilian sources showing a laminated card printed with the black and white flag of the Islamic State.

It carries the photo of the holder, his name, date and place of birth and his parents’ names, and is marked “Wilayat (district of) Raqa.”

An activist with the anti-IS “Raqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” group confirmed that IS had begun issuing identity documents.

IS is requesting “that people who do not have identity papers register at the civil registry in the city as a first step towards getting an identity card,” activist Mohamed Saleh told AFP via the Internet.

He said its fighters were already receiving the new ID cards, but that civilians were still being registered to receive theirs.

The ID cards were not available for women “because printing their photos is considered forbidden.”

“People don’t want the cards, but they don’t have a choice,” he said.

Saleh said residents feared the cards would become compulsory for all those in the province, even if they already have other proof of identity.

“That’s what happened with their driver’s licences and licence plates… Now there are checkpoints where they make sure you have them,” he said.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said issuance of the ID cards follows the introduction of a range of other administrative paperwork, including marriage and birth certificates, drivers’ licences and car registrations.

Land and building registration documents and permits were also being issued, he added.

IS has seized large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq since 2013 and declared a self-styled Islamic “caliphate” in the land under its control.

It has been accused of widespread abuses, including summary executions, torture and slavery.