Molhem Barakat / Reuters
Free Syrian Army fighters search bags belonging to civilians who are attempting to enter Turkey at the Bab Al-Salam border crossing September 9, 2013.
NORTHERN SYRIA and ANTAKYA, TURKEY -- There was another checkpoint up ahead, so we slowed down, but didn’t stop. It’s better to keep moving at rebel checkpoints now. Don’t make too much eye contact, and move on.
We were in a convoy of pickups with commanders from the Free Syrian Army, top guys, but they didn’t have much juice anymore.
A year or two ago, the FSA ran all the checkpoints. They ran the revolution. With their fatigues, Winston cigarettes and patriotic songs blaring on their car radios, they were the rebels of Rebelstan and the people loved them.
Farmers stopped them on the road to push baskets of figs snapped right from the trees into their cars. The FSA didn’t need bases because families opened their homes for fighters to bed down for the night.
But it got all messed up. The extremists started coming about a year ago.
Saudi teenagers looking to shoot someone with their new guns. Iraqis showing off how much they knew about fighting from years blowing up American Humvees. Tunisians and Libyans unsatisfied with their own revolutions and hungering for more. Al Qaeda put out the call to go Syria and it was answered.
Syrian opposition activists say a school was attacked Monday with a substance they compared to Napalm, saying the only injuries recorded were burns across 50 to 80 percent of victims' bodies.