DAY 740 - MARCH 18, 2013

You, Emad and Yara hitch a ride with a diesel smugger who knows the back roads when he leaves the city and has some of the air let out of his tires so he can drive easily on the sand dunes. You don't know anyone in Al Raqqa. The other mothers, back in Deir Ez Zor, told you to be conscious of Al Qaeda in that town. You remember them telling you that, even though it is liberated, Al Qaeda may try to use Al Raqqa as a breeding ground for extremism. But Al Raqqa is a large town, you say to yourself. Anything is better than Assad's soldiers, you say to yourself. If it is regime free, then it is your best bet right now, you say to yourself. If there is a school that is in session, that still teachers, then you have to go. You say this to yourself.