Christoph Reuter reports: Both men were Syrians — a taxi driver and his passenger. They met during an hour-long drive in April from the airport in the southern Turkish city of Adana toward the east. Within a few minutes, they realized that they were from the same place, the northern port city of Latakia, which is controlled by the Syrian regime.
Things got tricky when the two men began to wonder whose side the other had been on.
They avoided direct questions for a while. Before, on the other side of the border, they may have shot at each other. But now they were sitting in the same car. Eventually, the driver began to tell his story. He had been a bank manager and had told jokes about Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. After an informer betrayed him to the government, a man from Syrian intelligence gave him a warning, saying: “Get out now. They’re coming to get you in half an hour.”
Then the second man told his story. He had been an architecture student. “I had nothing against Assad,” he said. But checkpoints had been erected everywhere in recent weeks, where young men were forcibly recruited into the army. “I didn’t want to die,” he explained. The driver chuckled briefly, and then the two men went silent for a while.
“It’s over,” the driver finally said. “Yes,” his passenger replied. They spent the rest of the trip discussing the best routes to Europe. [Continue reading…]