A Glimpse Inside Syria’s Civil War
Last week, C. J. Chivers spent five days embedded with Syrian rebels in the Aleppo province. For the New York Times, he offers a candid look at operations on the front line of the guerrilla war and the people - farmers, nurses, business men, army defectors - who have taken up arms against President Bashar al-Assad.
Using Skype, Jamal Abu Houran contacted an activist from Tal Rifaat who invited him to desert his post and head to a nearby village, where he would be picked up by a waiting car. Soon he was in a hidden guerrilla office. He told the activists there that he had studied weapons well, and asked to join the rebels’ fight.
An activist phoned Mr. Yasin, who quickly appeared and stood before him. Jamal recalled his new commander’s first words. “You are my brother,” he said. “And your blood is more precious than mine.”
Jamal Abu Houran’s reply set his life on its new course. “I hope God will give me the strength to defend people like you,” he said. This was his oath.
He had switched sides.