When the revolution broke out in March 2011, I started taking part in the peaceful protests in Deir Az Zor in eastern Syria.
The peaceful protests lasted for about three months, and the number of demonstrators eventually reached 500,000 in the city's main square.
The regime forces began to crack down on protesters, targeting many youths. Residents responded with civil disobedience, setting up barriers and disrupting transportation routes in the city.
This prompted government forces to deploy tanks, heavy machinery and a large number of ground troops.
In the meantime, my family and I fled to Raqqa, which was better off than Deir Az Zor. We fled because we were afraid of the brutal shelling and the massive crackdown by the Syrian government.
I tried to go back to university, but I received a letter from one of my friends that shocked me and basically ruined my future. The letter said: "A dismissal order from the university has been issued against you for political reasons."
He did not provide me with more information regarding the dismissal order, and with this decision, I was denied the right to continue my studies. Until this day, I dream of going back to university.
In March 2013, the FSA liberated Raqqa from government forces with the help of fighters from al-Nusra Front, an alliance that later collapsed. Events escalated very fast, and by early 2014, ISIL controlled the city of Raqqa after fierce battles with FSA fighters, who later withdrew.
ISIL began to raise their black flags over their headquarters. They carried out many arrests, began to steal from governmental organisations, and brought down everything related to the Syrian national identity in preparation for building their own "Islamic State".
ISIL built their so-called state by using methods similar to those employed by the Syrian government, including arrests and killings.
However, the brutality of ISIL's crimes surpassed the regime's, as they began crucifying, cutting off hands, stoning and publicly flogging people.