Just off the road, the sandstorm twisted and spun like a top above the brown Syrian Desert. We were speeding eastward towards the city of Raqqa, my fixer Levon almost coy about whom we would find there. “I know someone,” he had said haltingly in English. “Maybe he can help you.”
Beside bluffs of rock, the Euphrates River flirted in and out of view. I pictured my skeletal grandfather Stepan a century earlier, walking alongside it on bloodied feet for months, driven by armed guards who galloped beside his caravan of deportees.
Of course, I was thinking about him. He was the one who had brought me there. Or, rather, his words had – since he had been dead for more than three decades. My family had recently discovered his notebooks, detailing his survival of the Armenian genocide, which Turkey still denies occurred. Now I was retracing his nearly 1,000-mile odyssey across …