DAY 740 - March 18, 2013
As rebel control along the border of Southern Turkey and Northern Syria becomes cemented, tensions between Kurdish YPG and Syrian Islamists, like Al Nusra, begin to intensify. The Kurds, trying to take advantage of the instability in the region, poise themselves for a power grab. You watch as Kurdish security forces move from Erbil in Iraq down towards the Syrian border. You know that their ultimate goal is to establish an autonomous Kurdish state, one that overlaps with Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq. For that to happen you also know the YPG will need to set up a perimeter to defend its territory. You travel in the desert during the night, alongside YPG pickup trucks, until you encounter an encampment on a lonely Syrian road north of Al Hasakah. You see that Jihadist fighters are strongly represented in the camp, at least 40 or 50 members to your 20 or so. They don't see you, until they do. When the yelling starts and the Islamist fighters begin to wake each other, a warning shot is let off from one of the sides. This is followed by several more in response. You scrounge for cover behind a dune overlooking the jihadist camp. You see the flashes from the Kalashnikov rifles as the shots continue but it is too dark to see much else. Suddenly more flashes light up the sky and the image reminds you of Baghdad at the start of Desert storm. You fumble to get your camera ready, but when you try to take a photo, you realize the flash is still on. Sensing a light behind them, the jihadists whip around and, thinking you are a militant that has flanked them, instinctually open fire. You are the first casualty of the night. It's a night where dozens more would die after you, along the dark desert road.
You have been killed.