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 President Barack Obama's "red line" with the biological attack. But it has little effect as 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.    

Sheikh Yousef and Sheikh Mukhtar Al Mu'in, heads of Jabhat Al Nusra and Liwa Al Tawhid respectively, have called an emergency meeting to try to combat certain patterns that have arisen in Aleppo. The first is that local neighborhood brigades are disappearing. Instead these rebel factions are fusing with bigger militias, sometimes with Al Nusra and sometimes with Al Tawhid, but mostly with ISIS. ISIS, since the prison break in July, has ruthlessly carved their way through the Syrian desert and have now reached Aleppo en mass. ISIS is guilty of killings and kidnappings to an unprecedented degree. The majority of Aleppans avoid their checkpoints altogether. The threat is simply too high for most. You know that ISIS and Al Nusra have locked horns before, but you are curious as where the current state of the relationship lies. It also comes to your attention that a parasite spread by Syrian sand flies and dubbed, "Aleppo Evil" (cutaneous leishmaniasis) is infecting much the city with painful and grotesque lesions that often cause disfigurement, among other things. The parasite is not necessarily hard to fight off, given the appropriate medicine. However, those hospitals that haven't been destroyed in Aleppo are often understaffed and undersupplied, not to mention the serious risk of barrel bombs and/or stray gunfire that inhabit the city's streets. All of this adds up to a disease that becomes more deadly and easier to contract in a place that doesn't seem much different from your most horrid nightmares. It's the place you only know as home.