You can’t mistake the front line between the Syrian army and Turkey’s occupation force east of Aleppo. The Syrians drove Isis out just a month ago and Russian troops are now present on both sides of the T-junction which marks the line between the two Middle Eastern armies in Tader and al-Bab. But there’s no mistaking the makers of the obscene iron scaffold which brought both armies crashing across this bleak, smashed countryside: a crucifixion cross left standing for its next victim when the Syrians arrived in Tader.
There’s even the remains of a screen on which Isis would replay DVDs of previous executions in case the villagers had forgotten whom their masters were. For two years, Isis ruled this broken countryside. Men who smoked or whose wives did not conform to their niqab dress code, were forced to dig the military trenches and tunnels which vein the rich fields between Tader and the old Aleppo-Raqqa motorway to the south. Those guilty of more heinous crimes were taken to the revolting implement at the T-junction.