"In the rolling blue hills and lush olive groves of the north Syrian countryside, a fledgling rebel state is forming, as opponents of Bashar al-Assad's regime attempt to take control.
The winding roads are criss-crossed with regular Free Syrian Army (FSA) checkpoints and although some are simply lines of rocks scattered across the road, others have kiosks painted with the colours of the opposition flag. Plain-clothes FSA men co-ordinate with short-wave radios, checking the roads ahead are clear and searching passing vehicles for weapons and regime forces.
"The army can't come to here," said Abu Mari, an FSA commander, recently returned from 30 years in exile. Driving through the streets of these villages, he receives salutes of recognition. He openly carries a gun, its butt taped with the colours of the new Syrian flag...."