Is an Uprising against ISIS Beginning in Syria?

A day after deputy head of Deir Ezzor province found beheaded, more members of ISIS religious police force abducted.

Cynthia Blank ,

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant
Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

Several members of the religious police force set up by the terrorist organization Islamic State have been kidnapped, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Wednesday night. 

Religious police patrol areas controlled by ISIS and are responsible for enforcing the organization's hard-line version of Islamic law.

The activist group says the forces were ambushed and then abducted by unknown gunmen in the Syrian city of Mayadin. 

The abduction reports come a day after the police force's deputy leader in the same region was killed by unknown assailants. 

Responsible for beheading those who break Islamic law, the deputy leader was killed in the same manner, after being captured and tortured. 

The United Kingdom-based Observatory said it was unclear how many members of the police - known as Hisbah - had been kidnapped.

"There is an escalation in the operations against the Hisbah because they are arresting people and insulting their dignity for reasons like smoking," Rami Abdel Rahman, the Observatory's director told AFP.

ISIS's religious police force is known for confiscating and burning tobacco products, as well as punishing those caught smoking. 

According to eyewitnesses, the deputy leader of the Deir Ezzor province - an Egyptian citizen, was found near a power plant in Mayadin. His severed head had a cigarette stuffed in its mouth. 

Nearby was a note reading, "Honorable Sheikh - this is evil," mocking the fact that smoking is considered a sin by the religious police and is banned in the ISIS-controlled areas of Syria and Iraq. 

"We do not know if ISIS killed him or local residents or other insurgents," Rahman said. "In any case this is an important event, because it was an important man." 

According to Rahman, this is probably the first time a member of the special religious police had been killed in such a way.