- By David KennerDavid Kenner is the Middle East editor at Foreign Policy. He is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has been with FP since 2009 (a long time, he knows). He worked for FP previously in Cairo, where he covered the early days of the Arab Spring, and before that in Washington. He has attended Georgetown University and the American University of Beirut and has reported from Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.
"Today, ISIS; tomorrow, Assad."
Those are the words of Jamal Maarouf, the commander of a Syrian rebel alliance that has spearheaded the fight against the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in recent weeks.
Since the beginning of the year, Syria has been wracked by a war-within-a-war: Rebel brigades belonging to the Free Syrian Army and Islamist groups have launched attacks on areas in northern Syria under the control of the jihadist group, succeeding in driving it from some areas — though at the cost of over 1,000 lives lost on both sides.
In a new PBS Frontline documentary, Syria’s Second Front, journalist Muhammad Ali traveled to northern Syria to see the battle up close. While most journalists were driven out of the area by ISIS, Ali was able to gain access to the rebel commanders spearheading the fight against the jihadist group and filmed unique footage of the northern town of al-Atareb — both before and after ISIS had been driven from it.
At 1 p.m. EST, Foreign Policy will be moderating a chat about the new documentary with Muhammad Ali and McClatchy reporter Roy Gutman, who collaborated with PBS on the film’s production. You can participate through the chat tool below, asking any questions you may have about how the struggle against ISIS has changed the face of the Syrian war and what the presence of jihadists means for the future of the country.