The journalist who got an unprecedented visit to ISIS talks Turkey
Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks embedded alone with ISIS members in June 2014
The production company VICE News, best known for its hard hitting investigative journalism, last year gained exclusive and unprecedented access to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) when journalist Medyan Dairieh traveled into the imposed capital of the so-called caliphate - al-Raqqa.
After the release of his film on his time spent with ISIS, Dairieh wrote a much acclaimed first-person account detailing his arrival in al-Raqqa, where a military parade was in full-swing, apparently to coincide with his arrival.
“Before the war, the town was liberal, with a large Christian population. People would go out in the evening to drink and smoke. There’s no music on the street now and even the pictures are covered - it has completely changed,” he wrote at the time.
In recent weeks, Turkish armed forces have fired on a number of ISIS targets in Syria, in retaliation for cross-border fire. According to the Turkish government, as many as 35 ISIS militants were killed in the first air strike on July 24.
Al Arabiya News caught up with Dairieh and spoke to him about the latest developments on the ground and whether Turkish actions against ISIS would be successful.
Q: Turkey launched an airstrike on ISIS in Syria, will this foresee further escalation?
A: Turkey knows its inadvertent military involvement with the battle against ISIS is going to come at a heavy price especially seeing that it’s at arm’s length from fighting ISIS with its quiet diplomacies and policies.
This will be an added advantage to the ISIS’ Turkish militants, who are strategically familiar with the locations and that presents leverage to suicide bombing attempts - in addition to being situated on the precipice of al-Raqqah city where snipers are silently on stand-by for the Caliphate Army.
As a result of the ongoing strikes, ISIS retaliated by advancing deeper into the province.
Q: To which extent were these elections viable on the current circumstances?
A: The rise of the Kurdish power bereft Turkey from pointing the blame to any other party, is this merely due to the weak infrastructure of the current Turkish government?
The political paradigm here caused the shift in Turkish security within 10 meters from the Kurdish militia site and 12 meters from its fighters. The threat to the Turkish leaders comes from the fact that Turks and Kurds of the Caliphate Army are well endowed to the language and hold an upper-hand to knowing the area very well.
Q: What is the situation like in the field?
A: If ISIS has successfully managed to infiltrate Tal Abyyad, they will be ready to strike within the realms of 20 to 30 kms which will not please the state of Turkey and consequently will force them to focus on containing the situation in an isolated district.
Q: Could we say this is turning out to be a civil war?
A: Ever since the start this war has been a civil and sectarian war and I could add that Turkey got accustomed to the brutality of that war.