An undercover media activist has become the first woman working as a “citizen journalist” to be executed by Islamic State jihadists, according to reports.
Ruqia Hassan, who wrote under the pseudonym Nissan Ibrahim, wrote updates about life in Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-controlled Raqqa on Facebook.
Her death was reported by the Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) activist group, which maintains its own network of correspondents in eastern Syria, though it said she was not affiliated with them.
According to the group, her last words were: “I’m in Raqqa and I received death threats. When Isil arrest me and kill me it’s OK, because (while) they will cut my head I will have dignity, which is better than to live in humiliation.”
Ms Hassan went missing in July last year, according to the Syria Direct website. Isil informed her family that she had been executed last week, on charges of “espionage”.
She was Kurdish by ethnic origin. The Kurds are currently leading the assault on Isil positions north of Raqqa.
However, her killing is more likely to be connected to a purge of anyone seen as leaking information from Isil-controlled territory and criticising the group from within.
Five men who were filmed being shot dead by a British-led group of Isil executioners in a video released at the weekend were accused of being “spies” for the United Kingdom and the western coalition participating in the fight against Isil.
However, in their confessions they said they had been providing information to RBSS, including from internet cafes in Raqqa.
Isil have also claimed the murder of a number of journalists working with RBSS, including two men who were found beheaded in Turkey.
- What is Isil?
- An Islamic extremist group controlling territory in Syria and Iraq
- What is it called?
- In the West, the group is usually known as Isil (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) or Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). In June, the militants said that wanted to simply be called Islamic State in recognition of the self-declared caliphate
- What about 'Daesh'?
- Daesh is an abreviation Dawlat al-Islamiyah f'al-Iraq wa al-Sham, and is the derogatory name used by many Muslims for Isil. Following the Paris attacks, the French government is now using this term
- What are its aims?
- A worldwide Islamic caliphate - a religious government - without borders
- What terror attacks has it carried out?
- Isil has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015, the explosion of a plane travelling from Egypt to Russia, and the individual killings of Western hostages, including James Foley and Alan Henning
- How is the group funded?
- Looting, extortion and the possession of oilfields providing an estimated £1.8m in revenue per day
- How much territory does Isil control?
- An area of the Middle East that is roughly the size of Belgium
- Where is it based?
- Isil's HQ is understood to be in the city of Raqqa, Syria