DAY 365 - MARCH 15, 2012
Protests in Daraa, Idlib, and Homs mark the one-year anniversary of the Syrian revolution. Government crackdowns ensue, staying in line with an unrelenting wave of brutality. Assad supporters stage their own rallies in Damascus, Latakia, and the Druze city of Sweida. The international community, floundering for a plan, appoints former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to head a special envoy tasked with diffusing the Syrian crisis. With the fear of arming terrorist rebels in the background, the US is hesitant to supply the Syrian opposition. A major general in the Syrian army, Mustafa Ahmed Al Sheikh, defects to join the rebel cause, thereby bolstering FSA confidence. He says 20,000 soldiers from Assad's military, mostly Sunni Muslims, have defected to the opposition. Russian and China again veto a UN-backed plan for peace resolution, roadblocking all Western intervention possibilities. Anticipating an increase in violence, the United States and United Kingdom pull out their remaining diplomats in Syria, suspending diplomatic relations. Al Qaeda number one, Ayman Al Zawahiri, calls for all muslims to help overthrow Syrian president Bashar Al Assad. In a related event, two suicide car bombs hit a military complex in Aleppo killing 28 people. Jabhat Al Nusra, a shadowy, Al Qaeda-supported, rebel faction claims responsibility.
A mother from Daraa arrives in the morning. She is stuffed into the female cell with Aasfa, where they talk about their missing children. Aasfa, finding someone who shares the same urgency as herself, is quick to tell her new cellmate of her plan to escape. Assad's guards have kept your Skype account open since your capture and have been using it as a honeypot to track down other anti-government activists. Before you contacted the teenager, however, you created a dummy account and you know it won't be long before they find out. The interrogations are becoming more threatening. Even though they have not tortured you yet, the threat seems to loom in the air along with the stench of the fetid cell. Your Iraqi friend, Aasfa, tells you that they have to make a break for it, that they need to get their children back. Aasfa gives you the option to go with them, if that is something you want to do. You've confirmed that you are in Tadmor Prison, near the Palmyra ruins. The only thing you know about Tadmor is that people disappear here. You, Aasfa, and the mother from Daraa vow to not disappear in Tadmor like all the others.