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Terror at the Factory Gate: The Price of Making Cement in Syria

  • Book by ex-Lafarge manager details cement plant during war
  • Account offers rare peek at companies dealing with strife, IS

For three chaotic years starting in 2011, as Syria imploded into civil war, Lafarge SA of France kept churning out cement from its factory in the northern desert near the Turkish border.

To keep production going and safeguard the $680 million installation, according to the site’s former security manager, Jacob Waerness, the company had to resort to extreme measures including negotiating freedom for kidnapped employees and cutting supply deals with local fighters, whose allegiances shifted with the sands.