Families on the Front Line (Trailer)

As Syria’s war enters its fifth year, VICE News filmmaker Medyan Dairieh travelled to the shattered northern city of Aleppo, where fighters from the US-backed moderate rebel group Jaish al-Mujahideen are still holding out against government forces in the city’s western half and Islamic State fighters in the eastern countryside.

For these rebels and their families, local fighters from the northern countryside, Aleppo’s abandoned ruins have become home. More than 13,000 Syrian children have been killed in the war so far — for those who survive, a childhood lived under bombardment and the sound of gunfire casts a dark shadow across their future. From a young age they are trained how to handle weapons, with their parents aiming for them to become the next generation of rebel fighters.

Watch “Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria” – http://bit.ly/1MnDiYm

Read “How Five Years of War Has Fractured Syria Into at Least Four States” – http://bit.ly/1R3cZfQ

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VICE News’ Highlights of 2015

In 2015, VICE News’ reporting spanned from politics and the environment to conflict and the human cost of war. Here are the most powerful and memorable things we saw.

Watch ‘Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria’ – http://bit.ly/1JvlEkj

Watch ‘Selfie Soldiers: Russia Checks in to Ukraine’ – http://bit.ly/1NbRdq2

Watch ‘The War Against Boko Haram’ – http://bit.ly/1JvJnAM

It’s time for Turkey to #FreeRasool – http://bit.ly/1PlOpGu

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In the Trenches With Al Nusra (Excerpt from ‘Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria’)

VICE News filmmaker Medyan Dairieh gains exclusive access to the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, al Nusra, a jihadist group fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the Islamic State (IS).

Spending more than a month with al Nusra and exploring their expanding territory, Dairieh meets the highest-ranking members of the organization, who reveal their identity on screen for the first time and discuss their military doctrine.

Al Nusra, which swore allegiance to al Qaeda two years ago and is now emerging as a powerful force to rival IS in Syria, has seized several strategic towns in the northwestern province of Idlib. While it supplies water, electricity, and food to the local population, a school run by al Nusra is also grooming young boys to become the next generation of al Qaeda and preparing them for jihad.

VICE News also secures exclusive access to the front lines of the battle for Abu al-Duhur airport in Idlib, a major airbase held by Assad’s forces, besieged by al Nusra for two years. Aided by dust storms during the attack, the airport was the last remaining government stronghold in the region. Dozens of government soldiers were subsequently executed, according to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In this excerpt from ‘Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria,’ VICE News follows al Nusra fighters as they launch assaults on the Abu al-Duhur airport, while dodging sniper fire, mines, and President Assad’s warplanes.

Watch “Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria” – http://bit.ly/1HI0FK3

Read “Al Nusra Unmasked: A Top Commander Speaks Exclusively to VICE News” – http://bit.ly/1HEuOdb

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Shaping the Future: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria (Trailer)

In this follow-up to Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria, VICE News filmmaker Medyan Dairieh gains exclusive access to al Nusra, the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, which is fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, the Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish forces.

Allied with the Jaysh al Fatah (Army of Conquest) coalition, and in control of territories stretching across the Aleppo and Idlib provinces, Dairieh meets some of the highest-ranking members of al Nusra. Revealing their identities for the first time, they show how they are providing services to the people living under their rule, and how they join other groups in providing these services.

Spending nearly two months with al Nusra, and exploring their expanding territory, Dairieh meets its first military leader, who explains how al Nusra captured and controls its territories, as well as its military doctrine.

Observing daily life in Aleppo under the group, VICE News visits an al Nusra-run hospital, schools, a fuel market, a power station, a water supply system, prisons, courts, bakeries, and also learns about the surprising ties between communities controlled by al Nusra and the Syrian regime.

Watch “Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria” – http://bit.ly/1HI0FK3

Read “In Photos: Inside the Al Nusra Academy Training the Next Generation of Jihadis” – http://bit.ly/1MnNjEX

Read “Al Nusra Unmasked: A Top Commander Speaks Exclusively to VICE News” – http://bit.ly/1HEuOdb

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Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria

VICE News filmmaker Medyan Dairieh gains exclusive access to the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, al Nusra, a jihadist group fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the Islamic State (IS).

Spending more than a month with al Nusra and exploring their expanding territory, Dairieh meets the highest-ranking members of the organization, who reveal their identity on screen for the first time and discuss their military doctrine.

Al Nusra, which swore allegiance to al Qaeda two years ago and is now emerging as a powerful force to rival IS in Syria, has seized several strategic towns in the northwestern province of Idlib. While it supplies water, electricity, and food to the local population, a school run by al Nusra is also grooming young boys to become the next generation of al Qaeda and preparing them for jihad.

VICE News also secures exclusive access to the frontlines of the battle for Abu Al-Duhur airport in Idlib, a major airbase held by Assad’s forces, besieged by al Nusra for two years. Aided by dust storms during the attack, the airport was the last remaining government stronghold in the region. Dozens of government soldiers were subsequently executed, according to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Watch “The Islamic State (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1IwDeVY

Read “Al Nusra Unmasked: A Top Commander Speaks Exclusively to VICE News” – http://bit.ly/1HEuOdb

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Caught Between the Islamic State and the Kurds: Exiled From Tal Abyad

In June 2015, Kurdish forces — supported by the Free Syrian Army and US-led coalition airstrikes — drove out the Islamic State (IS) from the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad — a strategically important gain in the battle against the jihadists. Yet the fighting also forced waves of refugees to cross the border into the Turkish town of Akcakale.

The advance on Tal Abyad, containing a diverse population of Arabs, Turkmen, and Kurds, provoked the Turkish government and a coalition of rebel groups to accuse Kurdish forces of “ethnic cleansing” and displacing Arabs and Turkmen — an accusation strongly denied by the Kurdish forces.

Yet allegations of forcible displacement persist among refugees, with some telling VICE News that their hometown is now under another hostile occupation, and others stating that life under IS rule was better.

Many refugees in Akcakale have had to set up camp in parks, or rent overcrowded housing. There is a lack of food and a number of children require immediate medical attention.

VICE News meets the refugees and activists of Tal Abyad, where they describe their new life in Turkey, as well as their fears for the future.

Watch “Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria (Trailer)” – http://bit.ly/1OySUxB

Read “Tal Abyad Has Declared Autonomy — and That May Worry Turkey” – http://bit.ly/1GTDAnr

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Exiled From Tal Abyad (Trailer)

In June 2015, Kurdish forces — supported by the Free Syrian Army and US-led coalition airstrikes — drove out the Islamic State (IS) from the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad — a strategically important gain in the battle against the jihadists. Yet the fighting also forced waves of refugees to cross the border into the Turkish town of Akcakale.

The advance on Tal Abyad, containing a diverse population of Arabs, Turkmen, and Kurds, provoked the Turkish government and a coalition of rebel groups to accuse Kurdish forces of “ethnic cleansing” and displacing Arabs and Turkmen — an accusation strongly denied by the Kurdish forces.

Yet allegations of forcible displacement persist among refugees, with some telling VICE News that their hometown is now under another hostile occupation, and others stating that life under IS rule was better.

Many refugees in Akcakale have had to set up camp in parks, or rent overcrowded housing. There is a lack of food and a number of children require immediate medical attention.

VICE News meets the refugees and activists of Tal Abyad, where they describe their new life in Turkey, as well as their fears for the future.

Watch “Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria (Trailer)” – http://bit.ly/1OySUxB

Read “Russian Jets and Syrian Troops Are Attacking Aleppo” – http://bit.ly/1hIY4bP

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Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria (Trailer)

Watch the Full Length: http://bit.ly/1lkhbv4

VICE News filmmaker Medyan Dairieh gains exclusive access to the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, al Nusra, a jihadist group fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the Islamic State (IS).

Spending more than a month with al Nusra and exploring their expanding territory, Dairieh meets the highest-ranking members of the organization, who reveal their identity on screen for the first time and discuss their military doctrine.

Al Nusra, which swore allegiance to al Qaeda two years ago and is now emerging as a powerful force to rival IS in Syria, has seized several strategic towns in the northwestern province of Idlib. While it supplies water, electricity, and food to the local population, a school run by al Nusra is also grooming young boys to become the next generation of al Qaeda and preparing them for jihad.

VICE News also secures exclusive access to the frontlines of the battle for Abu Al-Duhur airport in Idlib, a major airbase held by Assad’s forces, besieged by al Nusra for two years. Aided by dust storms during the attack, the airport was the last remaining government stronghold in the region. Dozens of government soldiers were subsequently executed, according to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Watch “The Islamic State (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1IwDeVY

Read “CENTCOM Admits US-Trained Syrian Rebels Gave a Bunch of Supplies to al Qaeda Affiliate” – http://bit.ly/1PpOnwu

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