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Geopolitics

One Teen's Harrowing Escape Of Life Inside ISIS

Khaled walked into an ISIS recruiting office and volunteered to fight -- for $30 a month. Now he's a refugee in Turkey. Here's how he got from there to here.

Man practicing shooting in Kobane, Syria
Man practicing shooting in Kobane, Syria
Christophe Boltanski

SANLIURFA — Khaled survived hell. Only he doesn't seem to realize it. When asked if he has nightmares at night, the teenage boy laughs with a smile, revealing his white teeth. Scared? No, he wasn't scared. Not even when the bullet went through his neck and came out a few centimeters of flesh further away.

"It was war," he says. "We were used to it."

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Two Ukrainian soldiers at a military base on the outskirts of the separatist region of Donetsk

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Halito!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine gets underway in Kyiv, Kim Jong-un slams North Korean officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak and Mexico’s National Registry of Missing People reaches a grim milestone. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg looks at the rise of ethnic separatism across Russia’s federal regions.

[*Choctaw, Native American]

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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