“When the uprising really began to heat up in Aleppo City, a few guys in my battalion fled and defected, I then made my decision to flee also. The village I live in is only 25km away from the military base from where I was serving, so it was a little easier than what other guys have had to go through in order to escape.
Three of us planned an escape and slipped off in the middle of the night when our superiors were sleeping, unfortunately some of the other soldiers that were loyalists woke up and sounded the alarm. We were shot at and followed for about three hours until we finally managed to find a hiding place under a riverbank.
As soon as I made it back home to my family, I joined the Free Syrian Army. My five brothers and I are all serving in the same brigade. As well as being sent to various frontlines around the north, we spend a lot of time sourcing provisions to provide for our wives and children that are in sitting in refugee camps along the border. We don’t have any savings left; I’ve sold everything including my hair salon just to get by”.