DAY 803 - MAY 20, 2013
Pro-Assad hacker group, the Syrian Electronic Army, breaks into the Associated Press Twitter account and tweets about a bomb detonating in the White House, causing a stock market free fall to the tune of $136 billion. Internet videos emerge depicting a Syrian rebel commander eating the lung of a dead government soldier. The cannibalism stunt is used by anti-war advocates around the world as justification to avoid arming the Syrian opposition. France and England believe they have proof that Assad has used chemical weapons on his own people. Israel uses this information as the catalyst to perpetrate a second bombing inside Syria, this time on Bashar Al Assad's most advanced weapons facility, which many think is used to manufacture biological weapons. Two car bombs go off across the Turkish border while the Syrian government commits massacres in Baniyas and Al Bayda, calling it an act of sectarian cleansing. The UN puts the death toll at 80,000 since the start of the conflict, as 4.5 million people are internally displaced within Syria's borders and one million refugees are displaced outside.
With your help, the Syrian Electronic Army pulls off their biggest cyberattack yet. You shrewdly were able to extort information from an Associated Press journalist online, in return for giving him an exclusive on Sheikh Muhktar Al Mu'In. The exclusive, however, was completely fabricated. You traded the Associated Press information to the Syrian Electronic Army for the exact location of your father in Sheikh Maksud, as well as the guarantee of safe passage through any and all regime checkpoints. You have Sheikh Yousef send over Jalal Al Din to drive you through your hopelessly embattled city. For the first time in over a year you leave your apartment in Sakhour. Jalal drives you past the garbage piles that line the streets because, outside, it's too dangerous for garbage collection. You pass avenues that once had rows of sturdy brick high-rises but now have little more than ash and empty spaces in their places. You pass schoolyards that have been converted into hackneyed bunkers and you pass libraries now devoid of all the books, the educational information, that was once accessible and free. The ubiquity of utter destruction that you see outside is horrific. You've seen enough videos to know what it looked like out here, but to see it in person evokes a much stronger reaction. You're thinking about that as you cross the Castello checkpoint in Sheikh Maksud and feel the tires pop underneath the "technical" pickup truck where you sit in the passenger next to Jalal. Suddenly a group of ten or so men jump the truck in the center of the lonely and ravaged road. The men hold their Kalashnikovs at you through the windows and demand you get out of the car. They aren't regime soldiers, though... just thugs, guys in masks. But you can't get the pistol in the glove compartment in time, nor would you know how to use it, and now your truck is without tires on a tract of road that seems to have gotten use to the sound of screaming.