VIDEO: The Islamic State by VICE News


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

VICE News reporter Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining unprecedented access to the group in Iraq and Syria as the first and only journalist to document its inner workings.

The Islamic State, a hard line Sunni jihadist group that formerly had ties to al Qaeda, has conquered large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the group has announced its intention to reestablish the caliphate and has declared its leader, the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the caliph.

The lightning advances the Islamic State made across Syria and Iraq in June shocked the world. But it’s not just the group’s military victories that have garnered attention it’s also the pace with which its members have begun to carve out a viable state.

Watch the extended version of the Islamic State by VICE News:

Medyan Dairieh

Medyan Dairieh

Flush with cash and U.S. weapons seized during its advances in Iraq, the Islamic State’s expansion shows no sign of slowing down. In the first week of August alone, Islamic State fighters have taken over new areas in northern Iraq, encroaching on Kurdish territory and sending Christians and other minorities fleeing as reports of massacres emerged.

The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone reports, “But in a new, five-part Vice News documentary, ‘The Islamic State,’ journalist Medyan Dairieh reports openly in Raqqa, riding alongside a militant who reminds passersby about upholding Sharia law. Dairieh speaks with young boys about their dreams of fighting for the caliphate, and with a Syrian man imprisoned for selling alcohol who claims to have since found his faith.”