Author and journalist Jonathan Spyer’s latest book explores the disintegration of the Middle East over the past decade. Days of the Fall: A Reporter’s Journey in the Syria and Iraq Wars is an up-close and personal account of the two major conflicts in the region that exemplify its descent into chaos, both physical and moral.

Spyer had been focusing on the Levant in general, and Syria in particular, for a good few years before President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was caught up in the revolutionary fervour sweeping across the Arab world.

As the Arab Spring, sparked just before the end of 2010 in Tunisia, spread like wildfire across the region, some of its leaders began to be consumed in the flames. January 2011 marked the fall of Tunisia’s president. In February Egypt’s Mubarak was overthrown. In March, Assad’s Syria was set ablaze as pro-democracy protests erupted following the arrest and torture of some teenagers who had painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. When security forces opened fire on demonstrators, nationwide protests demanded Assad’s resignation.

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