Street fighting in Aleppo, 23 July 2012
In April last year Ahmad Mohammad left his village in northern Syria filled with its pomegranate trees, figs, and goats, and moved to Lebanon. He came back five months later with a certificate in mobile phone maintenance – a weapon more powerful than Bashar al-Assad's helicopters and tanks.
While he was away Mohammad learned how to upload videos to YouTube – a website banned by the Syrian regime. "Nobody in Syria knew how to do this," he said. In the meantime Syria's revolution snowballed from a handful of protests into a seething nation-wide revolt, characterised by nightly anti-regime gatherings, shootouts with the security forces and a growing number of casualties.
Mohammad had a laptop but no money. His brother lent him some cash, with which he bought a 3G modem and a Sony Ericsson phone from Turkey. Within a couple of days, he had rigged up a high-speed internet connection at his parent's home – the cable sitting next to the vine above the terrace and a pot of basil on a wall.
Last autumn opposition fighters took control of his village. On 10 January 2012, Mohammad shot his first video, a demonstration, on which did a voiceover in Arabic: "Don't trust Assad's reforms, join the revolution!"
The day was muggy and wintry; the picture quality wasn't great, with sepia tones. But Mohammad's career as a video activist had begun.