As the Syrian civil war continues, and the humanitarian crisis worsen, Islamists are increasingly filling the ranks of the rebels. It therefore seems as if President Bashar al-Assad and his entourage decided to conduct an energized campaign to persuade the United States that it is on the wrong side of the civil war.

The men in this series were detained by various military or police forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. The portraits were taken before and after each detainee was blindfolded by regime investigators and interviewed by a journalist in front of their jailers. They have been held from several months to a year after found fighting on the side of the rebels. They all denied being coerced or mistreated, except, one who said he was when he “made mistakes”.

The reasons behind their confessed crimes vary, but the validity of their confessions, while surrounded by pro-Assad investigators, is difficult to judge.