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The Secret History of ISIS

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Meet the Boy Who Started the Syrian War

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Mouawiya Syasneh was just 14 when he sprayed anti-government slogans on his school wall in Deraa, Syria. It was February 2011, and he could never have imagined that such a minor act would spark a full-blown civil war. More than half a million people have been killed in Syria since the start of the war. Mouawiya’s home city has been ravaged by street fighting, shelling and barrel bombing. The war has left scars that may never heal.

Now a young man, fighting on the frontline for the Free Syrian Army, Mouawiya admits that had he known what the consequences of his actions would be, he would never have taunted the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad.

His life has been transformed by that adolescent prank. He has lost friends and relatives, including his father. And Syria has been changed forever. The Boy Who Started the Syrian Civil War offers a glimpse into life in Deraa since the start of the conflict. Al Jazeera meets Syrians trying to lead normal lives amid the chaos as well as those who have taken up arms against Assad’s forces.

 

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FPA’s Great Decisions: India Rising

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Fed up with corruption, dynastic policies and ineffective public services, Indian voters catapulted Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party to power in the country’s 2014 elections. For voters, Modi embodied real change and an India that wasn’t stumbling, but running, to greatness.

But for the U.S., change in India brings its own set of unknowns, heralding an age ruled by a prime minister new to national office.Now, the U.S. has to determine how to best secure its interests as India asserts itself on the world stage.

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