On August 21, 2013 the Syrian regime launched the biggest chemical attack of the 21st century. It was a seismic event whose repercussions are still being felt. This is an account of what happened that day and how the decisions made in its aftermath sealed Syria’s fate.
“What is the difference between a human and an animal?” Assad said. “Humans have feelings and animals have feelings. … Humans speak and parrots speak … animals have brains and they learn. … The difference between a human and an animal is just one thing that human beings have: creed.”
Years later, after leaving the country and then returning as a journalist, I would ask fellow Syrians what they understood themselves to be. “What is Syria? Who is Syria?” I asked anyone who listened. “What does it mean to be a citizen of Syria?”
If and when freedom arrives, the moment surprises you, and you find yourself in the world again holding more emotion than you know how to express.
The death of Syria's foreign minister was tragic to many regime sympathizers. They now witness in horror the decline of the old guard and the rise of the warlords as one of the defining features of Bashar al-Assad’s proclaimed victory over a shattered Syria.
Syrians ravaged by war are now dying from a pandemic the government has downplayed.
I reported from the Syrian capital when a peaceful protest movement became an armed insurgency. Here's what I saw.