Reporter Crosses Into Syria To Tell Stories Of Fighters

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[sidebar title="Recent Reports By Holly Williams"]


Syria is one of the most dangerous places in the world right now, not only for its residents but also for journalists. Some determined journalists have managed to sneak into Syria to report on the ravages of war, and the fight against the Islamic militant group ISIS, also called the Islamic State.

CBS News correspondent Holly Williams is part of a team that has crossed the Turkish-Syrian border several times. Williams tells Here & Now's Robin Young about some of the people she's interviewed, including women Kurdish soldiers who are on the frontlines, and two men in a Kurdish prison who are accused of being ISIS terrorists.

Interview Highlights: Holly Williams

On female Kurdish fighters

“One the big questions in my head, as I crossed over into Syria to meet these Kurdish fighters, is whether the women were really on the front line. That question was answered by that experience because they were there defending that village trading fire with ISIS.”

On meeting men accused of fighting for ISIS

“They were being pushed into the room. They were blindfolded. They were reaching out in front of them, obviously didn’t know where they were going or who they were about to meet. So I reached out to guide them. One of the men, who was shaking and apparently terrified didn’t just take hold of my hand he actually started to kiss my hand, and then sat down still shaking and put his hand up in front of his face.”

On the risks of reporting in Syria

“My decision to go into this part of Syria was, I think, very well thought through. It was several weeks in the planning. That discussion not only involved fellow journalists at CBS, my producer but also our security advisors—who are ex-servicemen themselves. A lot of the things we do seem more dangerous to our audience than they actually are. The most dangerous thing was that episode was when I drove into Syrian Kurdistan with no intention to put ourselves in danger and then unfortunately our guide took us too close to the front line. I would stress we were still a mile from ISIS positions. We would have to be very, very unlucky for them to have hit us. So I absolutely have limits on what I’m willing to do and a big part of that is I have a young daughter.”


This segment aired on October 29, 2014.


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