(Los Angeles Times) For two years, Emad Fa'aas was a devoted rebel fighter. In the early days when Syrian rebels took up arms against the government of President Bashar Assad, he joined other fighters in attacking military checkpoints, sometimes traveling to neighboring provinces.
When the fighting spread into his city of Aleppo he spent long stretches fighting on the front lines, at times separated from his family for an entire month.
These days his hands are stained red, from cherry ice cream.
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The front lines are not far away, but now he holds an ice cream scoop rather than a gun. Gone are his fighting days, replaced with working at the nameless shop, with a commercial coffee maker but otherwise bare shelves, that he recently opened to support his family.
"I left because I no longer had the ability to feed my kids," said Fa'aas, 39, who has a wife, two sons and a young daughter. "My jihad now is for my family."