Mohammed Ali works at a petrol station in southern Turkey, just across the border from his native Syria. He has a remarkable story -- and scars to prove it, he says.
Ali claims to be the sole survivor of a mass execution in Syria, the BBC reports, allegedly having been abducted at a checkpoint manned by pro-regime militiamen.
"They put us all on our knees, all 21 of us," Ali told the BBC. "They began firing. I fainted when they shot at us. I woke up after 10, 15 minutes and saw the gunmen's car leaving and I saw that everyone around me was dead."
Ali says he was hit by five bullets; one in his shoulder, one in his ear, two in his legs and one in his hip. Yet he miraculously survived. "Perhaps this wasn't my time to die," he told the network.
"Shabiha," or pro-Assad gunmen, have been accused of a number of atrocities and mass killings since the start of the violence in Syria. It was impossible, however, to confirm Ali's account.
The U.N. estimates more than 60,000 people have lost their lives in the 21-months-long conflict.
Dropping temperatures and harsh winter weather have recently increased the woes of many Syrians still in the country and in refugee camps throughout the Middle East. "Zaatari is sinking," Abu Bilal, a refugee from Syria's southern city of Dara'a, told the Associated Press about the Jordanian refugee camp. "We're desperate. We need a solution fast," he added.
International peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in an interview aired on Wednesday that embattled Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad needs to step down for the country to reach peace. "In Syria, in particular, I think that what people are saying is that a family ruling for 40 years is a little bit too long," Brahimi said, according to Reuters. "So the change has to be real. It has to be real, and I think that President Assad could take the lead in responding to the aspiration of his people rather than resisting it." Assad had earlier told Brahimi he intends to run for reelection in 2014.