Past eventPast eventMembersScreening Room

Screening Room: City of Ghosts

Chatham House, London


Abdalaziz Alhamza, Journalist, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (via Skype)
Sawsan Abou Zainedin, Syrian Activist
Haid Haid, Consulting Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Chair: Dr Lina Khatib, Head, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House


It has been three years since Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), declared a caliphate with Raqqa in Syria as its de facto capital. At the peak of ISIS’s reach, up to 10 million people were living under its control.

City of Ghosts, directed by the Academy Award-nominated and Emmy award winner, Matthew Heineman, follows the movements of the anonymous Syrian activists group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS). It details the harsh realities faced by these citizen journalists and the great personal risks they take to document the atrocities committed in their home city by ISIS supporters. The documentary offers a look into the dynamics between ISIS’s propaganda centre, Al Hayat, ISIS fighters and the RBSS, while documenting the acute danger facing people in Raqqa working against ISIS.

The screening will be followed a Q&A discussion, placing some of the themes raised by the documentary into a wider conversation surrounding the developing situation in Syria and Iraq.

Please note, this documentary has been rated ‘18’ by the BBFC and contains very graphic imagery depicting the violence and brutality of life in Syria under ISIS which some viewers may find disturbing. We would advise members read more about the documentary before deciding whether it is a screening they wish to attend.

Running time: 90 mins