5:30 am (0230 GMT): using morning fog as cover, forces loyal to the regime stage an incursion. An army sniper shoots dead Ahmad, a member of the rebel Free Syrian Army, with two bullets to the head. His body lies by the roadside.
A 13-year-old child fighter in jeans and a black T-shirt, Kalashnikov in hand, approaches the body of his dead friend and cries: “Ahmad, Ahmad… O God.” He bursts into tears before leaving the scene to continue the fight.
Under heavy fire, the body of the father of three is carried away by five fellow fighters, among them his brother. A pick-up truck arrives, and amid machine gun fire Ahmed’s corpse is driven away.
Minutes later, Ahmad’s brother Ayham is himself shot in the head and dies too. The dawn battle has claimed the lives of six rebels who sought to defend “their” castle.