DAY 550 - SEPTEMBER 16, 2012


Human Rights Watch estimates that 20,000 people have died during the Syrian conflict. Videos start to emerge on the internet showing rebel soldiers executing four Assad loyalists. The recording leaves the international community aghast, concluding that Syrian opposition forces are also guilty of atrocity. Assad's air force counters by indiscriminately bombing bread lines in Aleppo. In reaction to the Bashar Al Assad's blatant disregard for human life, Syrian prime minister Riyad Hijab defects, calling the regime "barbaric for killing unarmed people." Meanwhile, after Russian and China block peace resolution processes among other diplomatic deadlocks, Kofi Annan steps down as head of the UN's special envoy to Syria. It is a major blow towards the solution of the crisis. With the UN proving ineffectual, Iran confirms that its revolutionary guard is assisting the Assad Regime with intelligence and financial resources. It is the first third party to openly announce their involvement in the conflict. 

You travel in a "technical" pickup truck alongside Jalal Al Din and two Al Nusra Front battalions to Salaheddine, where you capture footage of one soldier shooting down a regime helicopter with an RPG that you acquired from Liwa Al Tawhid. Allahu Akbar. You add the Al Nusra Front badge in the bottom corner of the video and upload it. The footage promptly receives several thousand views within the first hour and many online see the offensive, along with downed helicopter, as an incredible feat by the rebel forces. The video supposedly even causes government soldiers, in Salaheddine, to defect to the FSA during the same day as the morning raid. The rebels and regime forces trade blows as you watch Aleppo, your city, turn to ash. A barrel bomb from one of Assad's planes destroys the main water pump to the city, causing a severe problem for everyone in the city. In response Al Nusra, Al Tawhid and several other brigades behead pro-Assad prisoners on camera. Sheikh Yousef asks you to film several of the killings and you abide. The first one is shocking but eventually you become desensitized to the horror. At one point you see Khalil in the crowd that watches the beheading. You try to call out to him but when your eyes meet he disappears. Car bombs go off periodically in Aleppo. You assume many are by the hand of Al Nusra Front but you are not sure. You have not been able to reach your old home as it is in a firmly controlled government area. You are no closer to finding your family until opposition militias storm the Hanano military base in the northeastern portion of the city. The FSA frees 350 detainees from the underground prison and one of them just so happens to be Ibrahim, your father...