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Jody Forbeck

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Soldiers of the Syrian Democratic Forces in Raqqa

On Raqqa Frontline: Kurds, Arabs, Italians Close In On ISIS

Kurdish-led forces advance with hopes to recapture the ISIS capital. Together with Arab and foreign fighters, they share a common enemy. But what happens when ISIS is gone?

RAQQA Commander Jihad Khabad, a tough and slender man with a well-kept beard, is holding a radio in his left hand and scanning a tablet with a map of the old city center of Raqqa. His men are stationed in buildings on the frontline between the Al-Sinaa and Rafiqah neighborhoods, a few hundred meters from the old city walls, hunting for snipers who appear suddenly out of side streets.

Whenever a gunman is spotted, often with surveillance drones, he is eliminated with rocket launchers. "At night they hide in tunnels," the commander explains. "Then during the day they start popping out all over the place, even in neighborhoods that have been freed. Every movement is a danger. Under every stone there could be a mine or a trap-bomb. We have more wounded every day."

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How Mussolini Is Making A Comeback On Social Media

The 'brand' of Il Duce is doing particularly well on Facebook and Instagram.

ROME — "Benito Mussolini is now live ..."

The announcement comes across Facebook on a typical afternoon, circa 2017, as a video of Il Duce speaking from a balcony in Piazza Venezia in Rome begins to roll. Moving over to Instagram, the image-based social network, there is a survey sponsored by Mussolini imposing himself categorically on users, "Would you like to see the return of Il Duce?" If you answer, the ad promises, you could win an exclusive daily planner for history buffs.

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