Lindsey Hilsum is International Editor of Britain’s Channel 4 News and the author of Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution. She is currently writing a biography of Marie Colvin, a war correspondent who was killed in Syria. (April 2018)

Follow Lindsey Hilsum on Twitter: @lindseyhilsum.


The Smartphone War

Syrian refugees hiding from Turkish border guards near Afrin, northern Syria, June 2015; illustration from Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple’s Brothers of the Gun

No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria

by Rania Abouzeid

Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War

by Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple
Every few seconds my iPhone lights up with new posts on a WhatsApp group linking doctors in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta to journalists in the outside world. News of Russian and Syrian government bombardment comes more or less in real time: “Before three hours in Ghouta, Russian plane tracked ambulances and hit both ambulances and hospitals.” “Dr Hamza: I have treated twenty-nine cases so far, the majority are children.” Visuals are captioned in Arabic and English: “Photos of shelters that local residents dug under their homes.” The journalists, who include correspondents from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other international newspapers, use the group to clarify the numbers of casualties and check locations of attacks, while broadcast media request Skype interviews from inside the war zone.

War of All Against All

The Impossible Revolution: Making Sense of the Syrian Tragedy

by Yassin al-Haj Saleh, with a foreword by Robin Yassin-Kassab

The Caliphate at War: Operational Realities and Innovations of the Islamic State

by Ahmed S. Hashim
The battle against ISIS in Syria is nearly over—attacked by the regime and its allies on one hand and the US-backed coalition on the other, its leadership is on the run, and the territory it controls diminishes by the day. Elsewhere in Syria, a frequently violated, Russian-orchestrated “cessation of hostilities” is in place. The revolution failed, and the wars it spawned are either changing form or limping to a bitter, ragged, whimpering end. The lines on the map are still shifting, but although Syria may never be unified in the way it was before 2011, the Assad government, with Russian and Iranian help, is reconsolidating power in the main urban centers. New conflicts are brewing.