DAY 237 - NOVEMBER 13, 2011
Reports have begun to surface about Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's security forces arresting doctors and pharmacists who have been supplying medical treatment to protesters at state hospitals. The city of Homs is pummeled with tank fire and heavy artillery, causing the most destruction in one location to date. As punishment for repeated human rights violations, Syria is suspended from the Arab League. Hundreds of thousands of supporters, of the Syrian government, have turned up in Latakia, hometown of embattled president Bashar Al Assad, to rally against the decision of the Arab League. Consequently, security forces during the night have conducted early morning crackdowns on thousands of homes known to be safehouses for opposition leaders. Syria Human Rights Watch condemns the crackdowns, but their calls fall deaf on the international community. Less than a month has passed since the Libyan Civil War, which culminated in rebel victory when Muammar Gaddafi was killed on October 20th. Invigorated by the outcome in Libya, Free Syrian Army rebels are amassing in droves to continue the liberations of the Arab Spring.
The day has come for you and Jeremy to enter Syria through the Bab Al Hawa crossing. You are traveling with very little gear this time because you are trying to be as mobile as possible. The plan eventually is to make it into the rebel underground of Aleppo, but once you are across you will spend the night in Bab Al Hawa where Tarek, your fixer in Syria, has arranged for you to link up with a group of peaceful activists. From there, Tarek explains that they will be your intermediaries, to guarantee you will be safely connected with the right rebels. You enter the truck and squeeze yourself between boxes of wool blankets and hydrogen peroxide. Two hours pass as you move slowly in the queue in Reyhanli, on the Turkish side. Finally the doors open and Tarek helps you out of the darkness. He is with a dozen men in piecemeal fatigues carrying Kalashnikovs and FN FAL rifles. This is not what you agreed upon. You were supposed to meet a group of peaceful activists.
- Trust Tarek. Just because they are armed doesn't mean they are going to hurt you. You know how this works. These guys are your friends.
- Demand to speak to the activists you were supposed to meet. Something doesn't seem right. If this is how the relationship is going to start, with Tarek lying about who he is putting you in touch with, you are bound to be killed.