Residents of Islamic State-held areas have resorted to smuggling themselves through off-roads to either regime or opposition-held areas, and in some cases to Turkey.
A local source from the countryside of al-Mayadin said large numbers of people are considering leaving ISIS-held areas as they lack adequate living standards and employment opportunities, preferring instead to risk escaping through black market smuggling routes.
According to the source, ISIS has ordered those who wish to travel outside its governed areas to obtain official permission to travel from representatives in their regions.
An academic living in the ISIS-held countryside of Deir-ez-Zor said: "ISIS has been preventing employees in government directorates from collecting their salaries for more than nine months. We are talking about tens of thousands of people, and they are now unemployed, despite the fact that most of them have university degrees and other certificates."
The source said ISIS distributes zakat (charitable payments) to people in its areas, but admits funds are not enough, as they do not meet the daily needs of people.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.