The Michael Kelly Award

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Rania Abouzeid

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Reported at great personal risk during three extended trips into Syria, “The Jihad Next Door” is the definitive account of the terrifying rise of jihadists in Syria. Winning unprecedented access to senior members of al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, as well as ISIS fighters, Rania Abouzeid discloses how al-Qaeda gained a foothold in Syria and ISIS used the Syrian conflict as an incubator to hatch its regional ambitions. “It’s a mammoth understatement to say that this was a hard task, especially for a freelancer,” Rania Abouzeid wrote in a letter accompanying the entry. “I work undercover and alone in Syria. I do my own fixing, translating, logistics and security… I am just a girl with a notepad and pen who has to figure out everything on my own.”




Independent writer Rania Abouzeid has chronicled the Syrian uprising extensively since it began in 2011. Previously she covered the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and has reported on wars, assassinations, and popular movements across the Middle East and South Asia for more than a decade. Her writing has appeared in Time, The New Yorker, Foreign Affairs, National Geographic, Politico, and other outlets. She is also a television and radio commentator on Mideast affairs and has given talks at Harvard, Princeton, and the New America Foundation. She was awarded the 2014 Polk Award for Foreign Reporting, as well as the 2013 Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism. A Lebanese-Australian, Abouzeid grew up in Australia and New Zealand, and lives in Beirut.

Article by Rania Abouzeid


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