A Syrian activist who helped produce a blog dedicated to exposing Islamic State crimes against the residents of Raqqa was found beheaded along with another young activist at their apartment in Sanliurfa in southern Turkey on Friday, friends said.
The deaths of Ibraheem Abdulkadir, who worked on Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, and his friend Faris Hammadi were the latest sign that Islamic State violence has spread to Turkey, where the extremists have been blamed for twin suicide bombs that killed more than 100 people in Ankara Oct. 10.
In addition, a third friend who was with them, Tlass Surour, disappeared and was feared kidnapped.
Muhammad Saleh, the spokesperson for the group, accused the Islamic State of perpetrating the crime. Saleh told a television station in Aleppo, Syria, that the murders occurred at about midnight Thursday and were discovered at 10 a.m. Friday.
Twitter accounts usually associated with the Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing the two young activists.
“May Allah Save the Soldiers of the Caliphate,” said one. “They reached the houses of the apostates and slaughtered them and the U.S. did not help them. Today the agents and tomorrow the presidents.”
And another account said: “They thought they would be safe in Turkey and far from ISIS’ knives. Anyone would crosses the lines of the Caliphate will be killed.”
Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently was launched in April 2014 to expose Islamic State atrocities in Raqqa, its self-styled capital. Through a network of its reporters inside Raqqa, Raqqa is Being Slaughted Silently has been almost the only source of news and information about what was taking place there.
The group, which started as a Facebook page, forced the Islamic State then to launch a counter campaign called Raqqa is Flourishing Silently. Since then activists working with Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently have become key Islamic State targets.
Hammoud al Moussa, a Raqqa is Being Slaughtered activist, lost his father in June when the Islamic State executed him and two other activists. The Islamic State accused al Moussa of supplying a hidden camera to activists in Raqqa.
Abdulkadir’s last post in his Facebook profile was about a military group called the Thuwar Ar Raqqa or Raqqa Revolutionaries declaring the entire city of Raqqa as a military zone as part of its plan to remove the Islamic State from the provincial capital.
Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently was the first organization to report on a failed American attempt to rescue journalist James Foley from the Islamic State’s Al Akershi camp southeast of Raqqa in July 2014. Its report came a month before the official U.S. announcement, but went largely unnoticed by Western news media. The group also was the first to report that the Islamic State had burned to death Muaz al Kasasbeh, a captured Jordanian pilot, early this year.
Last month, Raqqa is Being Slaughter Silently won the Committee to Protect Journalists International Press Freedom Award and a few days ago the campaign won America Abroad Media award.
Zakaria is a McClatchy Special Correspondent. Roy Gutman contributed from Istanbul.