DAY 439 - MAY 28, 2012
The Assad regime massacres over 100 people in the Al Houla area of Homs, 49 of those killed are children. The world is stunned and horrified, drawing outrage from human rights groups. In addition, after continuing protests, the Syrian Army raids Aleppo University, using tear gas and live ammunition in dormitories. Despite a UN ceasefire that was brokered by Kofi Annan, fighting continues to intensify in all major cities in Syria. In Damascus, shopkeepers have closed their stores in regime areas in ardent protests against government actions.
You and Jeremy meet Abu Aarif who agrees to take you to see some of the weapons. He tells you that there is no central base for making these things, but more of an individual effort by young soldiers. In many cases it is in order to relieve the intensity and boredom from the shelling that pervades the city and its outskirts. Despite being mostly under regime control, you are aware of rebels that are beginning to surface. They are preparing for an attack. You visit a house where several women are taking the keg powder out of some of the bombs that have been dropped by regime planes but have failed to explode. They are placing the powder inside of display mannequins and converting them into IEDs, which they place around Aleppo in the hopes that regime soldiers or tanks will set them off. Additionally Abu Aarif shows you a mortar launcher that has been clamped onto a bulldozer as well as a booby-trapped rifle that is set behind the corner of a hallway. While you are inspecting the intricacies of the wiring, Abu Aarif gets a call and becomes solemn. He tells you that Michael has been killed in Homs. Your face goes white.