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Just a few weeks ago I stood in ‘**** Square’ in the centre of Raqqa, the former capital of Islamic State in Syria, listening to harrowing tales of death and devastation amid razed buildings.
It was cold and I took refuge in a juice bar to talk to young men who told me of the horrors they witnessed under the rule of IS – and which earned this place its name.
Mass - Executions - Beheadings - Heads - Fighters
Mass executions and numerous beheadings, with the heads of Syrian fighters impaled on a makeshift fence.
I was reminded of a speech Theresa May made in January 2017 in Philadelphia – nine months before Raqqa fell – when she tried to rewrite the British doctrine that defined the Blair years.
Days - Intervention - Affairs - Nations - Prime
The days of ‘failed’ liberal intervention in the affairs of other nations were over, the Prime Minister announced to a standing ovation from US Republican leaders.
Fast-forward two years and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson couldn’t be more gung-ho on future UK military capability. Britain must be prepared to take military action against countries that ‘flout international law’ or it would risk being seen as a ‘paper tiger’, he said this week.
Doubt - Mr - Williamson - Events - Thousands
There is little doubt that Mr Williamson was emboldened by events unfolding many thousands of miles away.
Aided by British and US firepower, Kurdish fighters of the Syrian Defence Force are on the cusp of ‘victory’ against IS.
Islamic - State - Iraq - Levant - Caliphate
The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s sprawling caliphate, which once covered more than 60,000 square miles in Syria and Iraq, is now squeezed into less than one square mile in the Syrian desert.
There, a few hundred jihadists waged some of the fiercest fighting of the war this week, knowing the end is near.
N - Attempt - Passage - Coalition - Airstrikes
A N attempt to negotiate safe passage has failed, and they’re pounded by coalition airstrikes. Yet still they fight back with small arms fire and...
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