Aleppo After the Fall

One morning in mid-December, a group of soldiers banged on the door of a house in eastern Aleppo. A male voice responded from inside: “Who are you?” A soldier answered: “We’re the Syrian Arab Army. It’s O.K., you can come out. They’re all gone.” The door opened. A middle-aged man appeared. He had a gaunt, distinguished face, but his clothes were threadbare and his teeth looked brown and rotted. At the soldiers’ encouragement, he stepped hesitantly forward into the street. He explained to them, a little apologetically, that he had not crossed his threshold in four and a half years.

The Dirtbag Left’s Man in Syria

“Brace Belden can’t remember exactly when he decided to give up his life as a punk-rocker turned florist turned boxing-gym manager in San Francisco, buy a plane ticket to Iraq, sneak across the border into Syria, and take up arms against the Islamic State. But as with many major life decisions, Belden, who is 27 — “a true idiot’s age,” in his estimation — says it happened gradually and then all at once.”

The Mysterious Death of a Muslim Marine Recruit

Raheel Siddiqui was a young Muslim who dreamed of becoming a Marine. At twenty, he started basic training at Parris Island, where barking drill sergeants transform callow recruits into elite killing machines. Less than two weeks after he arrived, Siddiqui suffered a mysterious and fatal fall. The Marine Corps says he committed suicide, but some think more sinister forces led to his death.

Confessions of a Drone Warrior

During his nearly six years in the Air Force, Airman First Class Brandon Bryant flew hundreds of missions and logged almost 6,000 hours of flight time. He killed or helped kill 1,626 people. And he never left Nevada.