DAY 908 - SEPTEMBER 2, 2013


Hundreds are killed in a chemical attack in the East Ghouta region of Damascus, most of them civilians. Scores of videos surface showing women and children suffering from respiratory failure, thereby corroborating the belief that Sarin gas was most likely the agent released. John Kerry and David Cameron bang the war drums, citing Assad crossed US Pres. Barack Obama's "red line" with the biological attack. But to little effect, both US and UK governing bodies ultimately reject intervention proposals. Syrian rebels make a push towards Latakia, Assad's hometown and government stronghold, causing hundreds of Alawites to flee to the south. In Beirut a powerful car bomb kills 21 people in a densely populated, Hezbollah-controlled, shopping area. It is the deadliest attack Beirut has seen in more than eight years. In Al Raqqa, a liberated city in northeastern Syria, jihadist rebels fully expel Free Syrian Army soldiers from the region.    

With the FSA out of the picture, Al Raqqa has turned into an ISIS fortress. Giant Tawhid flags drape down from the tallest buildings. New mujahideen from around the world come into the city everyday. Their first priority is to defeat Bashar Al Assad, but their second (and endgame) priority is to instate the Taliban in his place. You are reconsidering putting on the burqa again after these hardline Islamists have started executing people at the drop of a hat. Also, on account of rampant kidnappings by ISIS, humanitarian aid has become scarce. Aid workers and journalists alike don't want to come near Al Raqqa. You and Yara have been living in the back of a grocery store, paying for your room by sweeping the shop in the mornings and the evenings. Emad has been living with several older boys that have been able to give him food, clothing, and toys. You still see him on a regular basis but you realize you are losing him. You desperately wish you had enough money to give him a bed, but there are so many new people coming into Al Raqqa that jobs are scarce. You are lucky to have the one you have now. You want to stand up to the ISIS soldiers that are spending time with your son, but you are afraid they might kill you if you do. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the ISIS number one, has been spotted around the city as well, issuing orders like he runs the place because he does. City? This place is a barracks.