James Harkin reports from Syria, speaking to ordinary citizens in Damascus and Aleppo about the ongoing civil war that has already produced hundreds of thousands of casualties and more than 4 million refugees--with no end in sight.
If Damascus looks more impregnable than ever, elsewhere in the country the Syrian army's myth of invincibility has been shattered. Its control over its territory is shrinking all the time, and nowhere more so than in northern Syria. To the east of Aleppo, it lost Raqqa province to ISIS, which also rules over several cities and towns dotted around the area. And to the west of Aleppo, there's Idlib, most of which is under the control of a coalition of rebel militias led by the Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate.
Regime-held Aleppo finds itself almost entirely encircled, and it's being squeezed as never before. If this, the country's biggest city and its industrial powerhouse, were to fall, the Syrian Arab Republic would be reduced to a rump.
Harkin's reporting explores how citizens perceive the threat from Islamic State and other rebel groups, the health of the Syrian regime, and how historically marginalized minority communities are adapting to the new threat from Islamic State. It will also build on earlier reporting about the theft and destruction of Syria's archaeological past.