DAY 622 - NOVEMBER 22, 2012


American journalist James Foley is just the latest in a string of non-combatant kidnappings, including Austin Tice and Mohamed Al Saeed, that have occurred in Syria within the last six months. Both rebel and regime soldiers are guilty of the abductions. The Syrian opposition has cut off many supply routes for government forces. Furthermore, the FSA has started receiving anti-aircraft weapons from anonymous sources. Though unchecked, many think Qatar is supplying the rebels with the heavy weapons. In addition Syrian opposition leaders meet in Doha to unite different anti-government militias under a moderate cleric, Mouaz Al Khatib, from Damascus. The violence in Syria is beginning to spill into Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan as random spats of gunfire proliferate many of the border crossings surrounding the conflicted nation.

You can't help but think of the families back home when they find out their son has been abducted in Syria. The scariest part is that sometimes no demands are made. Austin Tice has been missing for over two months and no contact has been made with his kidnappers, which leads many to believe he is dead. But, others tend to think he is held by regime forces, perhaps for as long as the war will last. The uncertainty can drive one mad. You are just glad that you are with the Kurdish YPG, and that they are not, for right now, interested in ransoming you. However, like most things in Syria, that can all change very quickly. The country is rapidly running out of resources as more fighters pour in to help the rebel cause. Meanwhile refugees are flooding out of Syria and into the surrounding countries. You hear of a new thing that the fighters are taking called Captagon. It is an amphetamine-esque pill, most popular in Saudi Arabia. You've heard it is being counterfeited and smuggled across the Bakaa Valley in Lebanon and into Syria by Hezbollah. It sounds similar to khat, a plant that is chewed in places like Somalia and other areas on the Horn of Africa. This Captagon lead could be interesting. It's a story no one has covered before. 

  1. Continue to convoy with the Kurds around the northeastern region of Syria. You've got a good thing going, don't mess it up now.
  2. Inquire about Captagon. It means you will need to head west, into more dangerous territory, but it might just be worth it.