2016 Civil Courage Prize Honoree
RBSS is a group of usually anonymous young men and women who secretly film the kidnappings, torture and murders carried out by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Raqqa, Syria, and expose these atrocities to the world.
Founded in April 2014 by seventeen Syrian activists, members of RBSS have become citizen journalists, risking their lives on a daily basis to document the abuses of the Islamic State. The group is considered to be a reliable, credible and independent source of news among Syria monitors and journalists globally.
There are now twelve members inside Raqqa; the rest are outside the city, with some working outside of Syria. Those inside post photos, videos, stories and news online from a secret location or risk internet cafes monitored by ISIS.
Open resistance and dissent are punishable by death, yet the group keeps sending digital images to the outside world, documenting life under the caliphate. Most use cell phones to film events, capturing the terror of those who live there and the caliphate brutality.
Founding member Abdalaziz Alhamza, 24, a former university student, fled Syria for Turkey and then Germany. In a New York Times article by Roger Cohen, Alhamza speaks of commitment, "We won't stop. We have too many friends and family dead. The only way we will stop is if ISIS kills us all or we go back home."
— Return to top —
RBSS co-founder Abdalaziz Alhamza
Train Trustees Louis Bickford, Ann Sloane and Ariadne Calvo-Platero, RBSS co-founder Abdalaziz Alhamza, The Hon. John Train, speaker Sir Jeremy Greenstock, and Train Trustees Amb. Nicholas Platt and Musa Klebnikov.