Foreign Volunteers: In the Hell of Raqqa

Inspired by the mythology of the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War, over 300 foreign volunteers chose to give up their comfortable lives and go fight ISIS in Raqqa. We filmed them there, fly-on-the-wall style, fighting, talking, laughing, being attacked by suicide bombs and sniper fire. We were with them until Raqqa was freed. And then we followed them back home – changed forever. 

Every night, between July and October 2017, young men with no previous military experience pushed through the most dangerous streets of the world. They conquered Raqqa, block after block. They met death and violence. And eventually, along with the Kurdish and Arab forces of the Syrian Democratic Forces, they liberated Raqqa and ended the reign of the most murderous cult of the XXI century. Some of them went back home. We were there when they told their story to their families.

“I gave my life to help the people of Northern Syria, to stop the terrorists, but my government is more interested in trying to charge me with terrorism instead”, complains former British Army soldier, Kevin. Josh, 22 from California, also finds the homecoming hard. “I miss Syria badly. War begot meaning to my life.” Made by acclaimed journalists Paul Moreira and Pedro Da Fonseca, this is the untold story of the young Westerners who left everything behind to fight ISIS. 


  • Year: 2019
  • Duration: 52
  • Production: Premières Lignes
  • Director: Paul Moreira, Pedro de Fonseca
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: France



  • Best Documentary and Best Music Award at Milan International Film Festival Awards 2020 (Italy); "Best Long Reportage" at Dig Awards 2020 (Italy), Mediterranean Film Festial 2019 (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

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