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On my last night in Damascus, some younger members of the Ministry of Information-sponsored delegation in which I was taking part decided to have a drink. It was late April, and the bars and restaurants were doing good business in the cool and breezy evenings. An inebriated Russian journalist, accompanied by a uniformed Russian soldier […]
The mortar shells came early in the morning. At about 5. At regular intervals. Solemn and sinister. They were a reminder of how close it all was. We were in the Damascus Old City. There was still fighting in Jobar, about two kilometers away. The rebels had also counter-attacked from the east, from the suburbs in eastern Ghouta, in the previous week. A shell had landed in the precinct of the Umayyad Mosque. This was not in accordance with the line being promoted by the regime, according to which the rebellion was on the verge of defeat. But there it was…
Who will dominate the post-Islamic State landscape in Iraq and Syria? On the surface, the wars in Syria and Iraq are continuing at full intensity. The fight between Iraqi government forces and the Islamic State in western Mosul is proving a slow, hard slog. This week, government forces captured the police directorate and the courts […]
‘So I’m a sniper, right, and I see four IS guys approaching. I’m on a roof. I take down two of them. Then the rifle jams. And they’re coming forward. So I make it down the stairs, and I throw a grenade as they’re in the courtyard of the house. One of them’s killed outright. The other’s badly wounded. So he’s lying there, in a bad way, can hardly move, so I disarm him, he has a rifle and also a pistol […]
The neighbourhood of Hay al-Arabi in eastern Mosul city has the appearance of a place recently visited by apocalypse. This was one of the last areas east of the Tigris River vacated by the Islamic State organization, before the advance of the Iraqi armed forces in late January. The river now forms the line separating […]