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‘City of Ghosts’ Subjects Fight ISIS (With Cameras)

"Cartel Land" director follows members of the RBSS media group, who seek to show the horrors of ISIS in Raqqa.

While many in the U.S. debate what level of force should be used in attempting to dispatch the terrorist group ISIS, a group of citizens originally from Raqqa, Syria—some now dispersed in places like Germany, while others remain in Raqqa—are using a different strategy to try and combat ISIS. Members of the RBSS (Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently) media group and their effort to document the actions of ISIS in their home country, as well as related events around the world, is the subject of Matthew Heineman’s (“Cartel Land”) new documentary, “City of Ghosts.” writer Andrew Karpan describes RBSS activities: “Formed in the wake of Raqqa’s takeover by ISIS forces, RBSS is presented as a loose network of camcorder-holding volunteers who document all those evil things ISIS is known for doing and secretly transmit them to members in Turkey and later Germany who post it on their website and hock it to major news networks.”

“The contrast of ISIS’s videos, which proclaim a fully-functioning and prosperous state, with those of RBSS, which captured the dysfunction and violence of everyday life, is shocking,” Heineman explains. “In a sense, it’s a war of ideas, a war of propaganda, a war being waged with cameras and computers, not just guns.”

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