Syrian Officer Gave a View of War. ISIS Came, and Silence Followed.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Ours was an unusual, sometimes operatic, correspondence that unfolded over more than a year. Abu al-Majd, a Syrian police officer who was being deployed more and more often like a soldier, texted at all hours, sending news from the front lines and grumbling about boring, sunbaked patrols, his complaints sometimes punctuated by expressions of terror, pride or doubt.

For us, it was a critical window into the raging war in Syria that we were too often forced to follow from afar. For him, it seemed, as much as anything, about having a connection to people who lived outside the claustrophobia of war, yet cared about what he was going through.