On a barren stretch of the Omar oil-field the storm was intense, the wind whipped the sand and the robes of those who had just left Islamic State territory.
In front of me hundreds of black-clad woman huddled unwashed children against the elements : exhausted, ill-fed, injured. And angry Angry at those who want to end the caliphate, at those who want to help them and at those who report on the situation.
As we filmed a tall woman strode towards us, fully covered, her black-gloved hand pointing directly at us. She was Syrian and spoke perfect English.
Her voice, completely calm was heavy with resentment.
“I want to speak to you,” she insisted as the frayed fingertips of her gloves hovered just inches from my face.
“It is not over, this may be the end of this caliphate but there will be another, there will be.”
I couldn’t see this articulate woman’s eyes but I imagined them darkening as she spoke. I asked her how we had reached this place.
“We are a product of you,” she told me.
“America and the West, you said you would end the attacks but for 20 years they have not stopped."
We both knew that soon she would be loaded onto a lorry and taken to a camp many hours away and I would stay to see the end of the place she so believed in. She said she didn’t know what would become of her in the future but it would be as Allah wished and she stressed that Islamic State is not going away.
As she disappeared back into the crowd I understood the power of a woman as zealous, self-assured and confident as she was. I understood why so many were gathered on the ground in front of me.
She was the perfect recruiting sergeant for Islamic State and she is one of many. Even as the world she wished for crumbled, her attempts to use Islam to sell ISIS’ ideology continued. Her work will go on with or without a caliphate to call home.