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 learn of an American freelance journalist named Austin Tice that has disappeared near Damascus. He is just one more to add to the list of disappearances that is starting to overwhelm you. You spend more time hiding in Aleppo than anything else. You have been using Abu Aarif as a fixer and haven't seen Tarek for some time now. You and Jeremy are now living with a group of Kurdish fighters in the north of the city. The soldiers are a part of the Kurdistan People's Protection Party, commonly known as the YPG. They are fighting not only to topple Assad's regime but also to establish their own autonomous state. Because of this they are also very interested in having their voices heard by the West. They have been giving you fantastic interviews and unprecedented access like you have never had before. All the while, they have been protecting you from Al Qaeda-affiliated rebel brigades. These are the brigades that want to kidnap you.