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Geopolitics

These Two ISIS Foot Soldiers Fled In Horror - But One Wants To Return

One slipped away, the other killed his way out of ISIS after witnessing too much brutality from the jihadist group. But as they tell their dramatic stories, sharp differences emerge.

Sanliurfa, Turkey, just across the border from Syria.
Sanliurfa, Turkey, just across the border from Syria.
Rémy Ourdan

SANLIURFA — They used to be good ISIS soldiers, devoid of emotions, ready to fight "for the Syrian people," both against the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad and the secular rebels or rival Islamists. The also fought "for the caliphate," for the reign of their absolutist vision of Islam on earth as declared by the leaders of the group that calls itself Islamic State.

But all that has changed.

Ahmed and Maher — whom we met separately and in secret across the border in Turkey — both quit ISIS for the same reason. The two Syrian fighters did not fight in the same unit and they do not know each other, although they come from the same region, near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor. They both decided to flee after living through the same experience: the execution of Syrian civilians taken prisoner after a battle.

Ahmed, 28, served in ISIS for a year and a half, after having begun fighting with the al-Nusra front, al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, at the beginning of the rebellion in 2011, before his emir swore allegiance to ISIS. That man used to be the imam in his home village, he had known him all his life. He wants to keep his name secret.

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

"Don't abort my right" At 2019 pro-choice march In Toulouse, France.

Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via ZUMA
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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