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Geopolitics

Why A Syrian School Teacher Joined ISIS

Once a backer of the Free Syrian Army, a harsh reality caught up with this father of three near Aleppo.

A classroom in Syria
A classroom in Syria
Jalal Zein Eddine

ALEPPO — Poverty can push people to make difficult choices in any normal situation — even more so in times of war, when the basic means of survival no longer exist.

Muhammad, a school teacher from the Aleppo countryside, found that the only way out of poverty for him was to join ISIS, with the extremist group offering him a meager stipend for his membership.

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Future

Cyber War Chronicles: Meet The Hackers Taking On Russia

The war in Ukraine is not just being fought on the ground. The battle for dominance increasingly happens on the digital field, where a worldwide network of cyber-soldiers conduct attacks to disrupt Russia's war effort, from the outside and inside too.

Cameron Manley

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russian and Ukrainian hackers have been fighting tit for tat on what we can call the "digital front line." To quantify the firepower involved, the number of ransomware attacks on Russian companies has tripled since Feb. 28, according to Kaspersky Lab, a Russian multinational cybersecurity firm that found a direct link between the uptick in online targeting to the breakout of military conflict in Ukraine.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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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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