Bashar Assad

A trip through horror, confusion and contradictions in Syria

A trip through horror, confusion and contradictions in Syria

In a world of increasing conflict, one country stands out as a sad emblem of misery: Syria.

The country’s 6-year-old civil war has sent 11 million people — half the population — fleeing their homes. Some 5 million people have left the country altogether. Those who remain face a nightmare of bombings, artillery attacks and a reign of terror wrought by the militant group Islamic State after it established its self-declared caliphate across a broad swath of Iraq and Syria in 2014. It was headquartered in Raqqah, an ancient city on the banks of the Euphrates River, 230 miles northeast of Damascus, that was once Syria’s sixth-largest city.

Much of what’s going on in this land of...

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