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 LeagueHundreds 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 take Nazir's car and driver into Syria. You are traveling with very little gear this time because you are trying to be as mobile as possible. Michael has arranged for a fixer named Fadi to meet you once you arrive in Damascus. From there you will begin to head north towards Homs. You are trying to minimize the amount of time you spend near Hezbollah and regime-held areas. You've heard the Syrian government is indiscriminately detaining scores of civilians and you don't want to be one of them. You and Jeremy enter Nazir's car. You drive through the fertile hills of the Bekaa Valley, passing olive oil plantations, pomegranate orchards, and wine vineyards. There are no check points and you don't stray far from Nazir's area of control. Everything goes according to plan until you notice a wave of Hezbollah trucks funneling through the same border you are trying to cross. You can see the sense of dread on your driver's face. As you slow down and wait for the extensive queue of vehicles to be permitted or prohibited into Syria, you see many of the Hezbollah guards getting off of the trucks and setting up checkpoints, securing the area with guns and intimidation. You and Jeremy look at each other and realize there is a choice to be made.

  1. Stay in the car. You trust Nazir's judgement. He's probably had something worked out with these guys for decades.
  2. Get out of the car. You have very keene intuition about dangerous situations. You don't like the looks of this. You would rather find an alternative route. Even if that means walking.