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.