The dealmakers

By Erika Solomon and Ahmed Mhidi

‘This is 1920s Chicago mafia-style negotiation’

After four years of war, Ahmed thought he had finally been given a break when he landed a job at Syria’s national gas company. Then he was assigned his new supervisors: the militant group, Isis. 
For $80 a month, the 25-year-old petroleum engineering graduate from Deir Ezzor spent a nightmarish year working at the Tuweinan gas plant — one of several that have in effect become joint ventures between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the world’s most notorious jihadi group.
The plant is not far from a military base where Isis months earlier had killed dozens of soldiers and displayed their heads on spikes. “It was frightening, but I didn’t ...

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