Jailed in Damascus

Tik Root | Foreign Policy

My time in Syria was short but decidedly varied: one week as a tourist, 10 days as a student, and two weeks as an inmate. As the Syrian conflict continues to unfold, my brush with the regime's paranoia was just one of the first instances of what evolved into an extremely bloody crackdown.

I was arrested on March 18, 2011, the first Friday of what was then termed the Syrian "revolution," after stumbling upon a protest in old Damascus. Just a student at the time, I was suspected of being a journalist, spy, or other unwelcome ilk. I was charged vaguely with "breaking Syrian law" and spent the next two weeks crammed in a basement prison run by the infamous secret police.

This week marked the second anniversary of my release. Since then, the Syria I so fleetingly knew has, for better or worse, unraveled.