An Al-Qaeda branch in northern Syria has opened a complaints department in one of the cities it controls. The militant organization apparently aims to show the local residents that it can act as a civilian government.
The branch operating in the provincial capital city of Raqqa posted a notice last week, suggesting the public turn to them with possible grievances.
"Anyone who might have a complaint against any element of the Islamic state, whether the Emir or an ordinary soldier, can come and submit their complaint in any headquarters building of the Islamic state," the notice said as cited by The Telegraph newspaper. "The complaint should be in writing, provide details and give evidence.”
The militants, whose long-term goal is to turn Iraq, Syria and Lebanon into a single Islamist state, pledge to try any violations at a Sharia court.
Earlier the Al-Nusra Front, the prominent Islamist force fighting to topple the Syrian government, admitted that it is in fact a branch of the Iraqi-based Al-Qaeda in a statement.
Over the years Al-Qaeda has showed a surprising amount of bureaucratic work for an organization supposed to be a loose network of independently-operating terrorist cells. In the latest example a letter was found in Mali’s Timbuktu, which criticized Al-Qaeda-linked guerrilla leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar for failing to report his expenses, answer his phone in a timely manner, or carry out attacks as ordered.
The attempts to impose the strict version of Islam are met with disdain in Syria, which had been for decades a moderately secular state. In Raqqa the Islamists attempted and failed to impose a smoking ban, according to local activists. But the militant group denies this ever happened.