Watch as Shane Bauer Goes Behind the Lines in Syria

Go inside an abandoned ISIS prison and witness the aftermath of a US-led bombing campaign.

Introducing “Behind the Lines”

Senior reporter Shane Bauer’s exclusive, on-the-ground videos in Syria explore an abandoned prison in the former capital of the Islamic State, as he hunts for clues about the devastating US-led bombing of Raqqa. Bauer’s special investigation provides a new look at a civil war that has drawn American jihadists, anarchists, CIA agents, and special forces to a battlefield of shifting allegiances and horrific civilian casualties.

These videos are part of a special package that includes Bauer’s in-depth report and a podcast series with audio recorded inside Syria.

Inside an ISIS Prison


Beneath a crumbling soccer stadium in Raqqa, in northeastern Syria, is a maze of narrow corridors and underground cells where ISIS once held its prisoners. In this installment of our “Behind the Lines” video series, senior reporter Shane Bauer tours these abandoned tunnels with a former prisoner who recounts the atrocities that occurred beneath the stands where he’d watched soccer games as a boy. Pro-ISIS graffiti still covers the walls of the cramped rooms where prisoners were kept in darkness, released only to be interrogated, tortured, and fed ISIS propaganda. While some prisoners made false confessions and were beheaded, others tried to save their lives by accepting their captors’ religious message; some escaped by joining ISIS. In this episode, Bauer provides an inside look at the place where ISIS held its captives and created new recruits.

Burying Syria’s Forgotten Dead


In this installment of our “Behind the Lines” video series, senior reporter Shane Bauer follows forensics teams as they conduct the harrowing work of uncovering thousands of bodies from the rubble of the former ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. The city was liberated in 2017 following an intensive four-month siege and bombardment by US-led forces that was part of President Donald Trump’s aggressive escalation of the war against ISIS in Syria. By early 2018, when Bauer visited, as much as 80 percent of the city’s buildings had been destroyed or damaged; Amnesty International called it “the most destroyed city in modern times.” During the American-led assault, US Marines launched 30,000 artillery rounds into the city—more than any Marine battalion had fired since Vietnam. Watch Bauer as he follows the heartbreaking daily routine of 16 rescuers with no more lives to save and finds that life continues in the shadow of death: A soccer game is played next to a mass grave, and children go to school next to pulverized buildings.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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Qamishli

Tigris River

TURKEY

Rojava

Raqqa

Aleppo

DEMOCRATIC
FEDERATION OF
NORTHERN SYRIA

Deir Ezzor

Conoco gas field

SYRIA

Euphrates River

Homs

Gas and Oil fields

LEBANON

Damascus

IRAQ

ISRAEL

JORDAN