Syria's northeast has not seen as much violence as other parts of the country during the 17-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The region is mainly Kurdish, although there is also a sizeable Arab population. Under Assad, the Kurds have had to deal with what they call the "Arabisation" of the area.
Locals say that while some restrictions have been loosened since the protests began, they are not entirely supportive of the armed opposition.
Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid filed this exclusive report from Malikiya, Syria.