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Special Report: A Young Man’s Journey from Student to Fighter


Produced by a team of Voice of America reporters, “Descent into Jihad”, is the story of an aspiring young astronomer in Turkey who abandons his profession and his community to join the Islamic State in Syria.

VOA’s Extremism Watch Desk reporters bring to life the story of Rasid Tugral in a multimedia report illustrated with Tugral’s own photos of the night sky and his social media posts. The report follows Tugral from his academic career – first studying physics in Turkey and then astrophysics in Finland– to his final days as a member of the Islamic State forces. He was killed in August 2015 in Syria but left behind an extensive digital record of his transformation from student to fighter.

This multimedia report can be viewed here in English and is also available in nearly 20 of VOA’s 47 broadcast languages.

Update: The story received nationwide coverage on the Turkish media. News outlets such as CNN Turk, Hurriyet, Milliyet, Russian-Turkish Sputnik, and others shared the story.​ The report was posted and praised on multiple twitter accounts, including the British ambassador to Turkey, Richard Moore's account.

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