Inside the Islamic State

It took Ahmed Brazu and his family 20 terrifying hours to escape the ravaged city of Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State’s imagined caliphate that has become an increasingly perilous battlefield.

Under Islamic State control for more than three years, Raqqa has been a symbol of the extremist group’s lofty ambitions, a home to many of its leaders and the site of atrocities — including the murders of journalists — that have helped galvanise the coalition in the fight.

The US-backed forces seized the final route into Raqqa in June as they pushed into the city.  But tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped in the city, and the fighting continues.

As Brazu puts it, “I will sit here all day, every day,” she said. “As long as it takes until they are all gone.”

THE QUESTION: Should New Zealand legalise cannabis?

Three-quarters of adult New Zealanders have tried cannabis. Diversion for low-level personal cannabis use is common. And the Government has recently made allowances for some medicinal cannabis use.