DAY 1000 - DECEMBER 9, 2013
Foreign fighters on both ends of the conflict flood into Syria, hoping to turn the tides in a country where little more than rubble is left of most cities. A family of 150 Kazakh jihadists, including women and small children, arrive in northern Syria to try to help topple the regime of embattled President Bashar Al Assad. Meanwhile, a team of Russian mercenaries, beholden to Assad, is discovered to have operated near an oil field in Deir Ez Zor after an ISIS member finds a foreign ID card. As the winter months approach, disease, malnutrition and starvation affect those Syrian citizens that have not evacuated the country. Polio, a virus that has been eradicated in the United States for over 25 years, surfaces in Deir Ez Zor, Damascus, and Aleppo. The Syrian government meets the first deadline for disposing of their chemical weapons with all of their manufacturing facilities being successfully dismantled. However, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says that although they have located most of Assad's stockpiles, the complex instability in places like Homs has made it difficult to verify if clusters of Mustard, VX, and Sarin gas still exist amidst the daily firefights. ISIS soldiers continue to push westward against the Free Syrian Army, eventually taking control of Bab Al Hawa, the Turkish border crossing that was both a FSA stronghold and a transport lifeline for foreign arms and medical supplies. The UN and other international organizations, unable to verify mounting fatality figures in Syria, start to abandon their death toll tallies. The numbers continue to soar while the identities of the deceased gradually disappear, namelessly, without reason or record.
You arrive in Amman, Jordan's capital city, on a small private aircraft operated by the Jordanian government and headed by a special Jordanian emissary. No one on their side has seemed to figure out that you are not, in fact, a Jordanian citizen at all. Then again, neither you nor Emad nor Yara are carrying a passport from either country, so technically you could really be anyone. Or technically, without identification, you could also be no one. There is the possibility you could become a depersonalized mother who disappears without a trace. No questions asked. You wonder what happened to the real prisoner that the Jordanians were expecting to receive. You wonder if she was tortured to death in Tadmor or someplace even worse. You wonder if that's possible, to have a worse prison than Tadmor. It isn't until the diplomatic debrief that they realize you aren't who you have pretended to be. They threaten to throw you into a windowless jail in the desert but you plead with them, saying that you have just come from a dark prison across the border and you will die if you go back. You feel the remnants of the UTI flare up for a moment while you say this. Eventually they allow you and your children to go to the Al Zaatari refugee camp, where there are nearly 150,000 other Syrians living in destitution. Despite being open for little more than a year, the camp is already Jordan's fourth biggest city. You have little say in the matter. The camp is horrid and you live in complete squalor but everyday you are able to see the sun while Emad and Yara sit on your lap, just happy to see you. Everyday you quietly express your gratitude out loud to no one. You are just happy to still be alive to see this.