DAY 329 - FEBRUARY 12, 2012
A major general in the Syrian army, Mustafa Ahmed Al Sheikh, defects to join the rebel cause, thereby bolstering FSA confidence. He says 20,000 soldiers from Assad's military, mostly Sunni Muslims, have defected to the opposition. Russian and China again veto a UN-backed plan for peace resolution, roadblocking all Western intervention possibilities. Anticipating an increase in violence, the United States and United Kingdom pull out their remaining diplomats in Syria, suspending diplomatic relations. Al Qaeda number one, Ayman Al Zawahiri, calls for all Muslims to help overthrow Syrian president Bashar Al Assad. In a related event, two suicide car bombs hit a military complex in Aleppo killing 28 people. Jabhat Al Nusra, a shadowy, Al Qaeda-supported, rebel faction claims responsibility.
You, Emad and Yara have been hitching rides to try to get to Deir Ez Zor, many times piling into the back of shipping containers stacked with produce, clothes, or medical supplies. Regardless, you are often diverted because of infighting or roadblocks. The threat is if the Assad regime checks the canisters and finds you, you will be held as traitors. It doesn't matter that you are a women. It takes you two weeks to get past Damascus. Now you are headed on a lonely road east towards the ruins of Palmyra. The three of you eat pomegranates while you sit in darkness in the shipping container, wedged between stacks of wood-carved bed frames.