December 18, 2019

On the ground in northern Syria in the perilous weeks after Trump’s military withdrawal

Source: Rolling Stone

Journalist: Jason Motlagh

On the morning of October 12th, Hevrin Khalaf, a rising young Kurdish political leader, rode along the M4 highway in northern Syria. Seated in the back of a bulletproof Toyota SUV, she rushed past the battle-scarred villages of her homeland, now three days into a brutal military assault from Turkey, made possible by Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from the region. She was on her way to Raqqa, the short-lived capital of the Islamic State and the largest and most heavily damaged city in Kurdish-held territory. Raqqa was beginning to recover, and Khalaf was headed to one of her frequent political meetings there. In 2018, she had helped found the Future Syria Party (FSP), with the lofty goal of advancing pluralism and democracy across Syria’s sectarian fault lines.

Read the full story and more in Rolling Stone.


  • Nicholas Heras

    Former Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a former Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. His work focused on the analysis of complex...