Source: The Washington Post
RAQQA, Syria — Samira al-Nasr has delivered thousands of babies over four decades in the city of Raqqa, but she says nothing was like the childbirth she attended two years ago as the handpicked midwife of the Islamic State.
Moments after an infant was born to a Turkish couple — an Islamic State fighter and his young wife — they tried to dress their newborn son in a custom-tailored military uniform. The father proudly declared that the child would grow up to become an Islamist militant. Nasr was revolted. She said she persuaded the father not to use the uniform, telling him the material was too coarse for the baby’s delicate skin.
Nasr, 66, is among the millions who lived under the Islamic State’s violent and austere rule in Syria and Iraq, but she witnessed a side of the militancy that perhaps no other outsider did. She was coerced, she said, into delivering countless babies for Islamic State families, attending the most intimate moments of their secluded lives, which she described as alternately ordinary and grotesque.