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.
The road from Hama to Homs isn't particularly long, only about 30 miles, but it is one of the most dangerous in Syria. You nearly escape an aerial bombardment on your way, and this time you are without the MANPADs for protection. During the initial assault of Al Qusayr, you witness your first instance of Captagon. You can tell which soldiers have taken it by the way they chew the inside of the their cheeks. There is a twitchiness to them and a eagerness to get things done that is seemingly lacking in many of the battle-fatigued fighters. You also notice the abundance of soldiers present from Jabhat Al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). You stick close to Mustafa Omar when you see them and they darkly stare when they see you. You can tell the Islamists by the black and white Tahwid flags they carry in abundance. They do, however, fight the hardest of all the rebel soldiers. Through Mustafa Omar you ask the fighters where they have been getting the Captagon and they tell you it used to come through Lebanon but now many families in Syria are starting to make it. The front lines and city streets change hands back and forth but mostly Assad's forces remain in possession of the majority of the governance.