This is one of the best photo journalism stories I’ve seen in a very long time. The pictures are powerful:
Near Baghouz, Syria — Who would have thought it would end like this, I wondered as I looked at the hundreds of captured suspected jihadist fighters sitting in rows in the desert. Eight years ago, it all started as just protests against Syria’s regime. No-one was even speaking about jihadists back then…
And now. A country destroyed.
More than 370,000 people killed. More than half of the population — nearly 13 million people! — displaced. The rise and fall of “Daesh,” the Islamic State extremists who spawned from the whirlpool of violence that swallowed that peaceful uprising.
They swept across the region, seizing large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq and declaring a “caliphate” that quickly attracted recruits the world over. At the height of their power, they controlled an area roughly the size of United Kingdom, ruling millions of people.
And now the last of them sat in rows in the desert, next to a camp that housed thousands of their black-clad wives and children, as well as civilians who were caught up in the Baghouz village where they made their last stand.