"Every day was a struggle, but something was missing."
A baker becomes a fighter
Before the Syrian civil war turned Homs into a conflict zone, Jumbaz owned a baked-sweets business, selling cakes and candy to the mainly pro-government Allawi and Christian districts near his native neighborhood in Homs' Old District.
"When my brother was killed, I decided to return to my community and support my people, because what was happening was unjust," he said. "Seventy percent of my friends have been killed in this and that massacre. This is an unbearable level of injustice."
Al-Assad must be tried for war crimes, he believes.
Jumbaz joined the rebel Free Syrian Army and fought alongside other members of the armed opposition to liberate an opposition enclave in Homs.
While the Old District remains under siege and constantly sustains shelling and mortar fire, Syrian troops remain outside the neighborhood, stationed along the outskirts of the suburb.
"There are enough Free Syrian Army troops to protect us now, but I noticed how difficult the situation is around us," Jumbaz said.
Now, Jumbaz spends his days kneading rations of flour and bits of butter into dough, creating sweet, creamy Syrian desserts.
"The kids wanted sweets and many of the women were craving desserts, so I am trying to bake sweets again," he said.
Faithful and not afraid
Al-Qassab said she visits her parents and relatives every day to help with household duties, and she checks on the well-being of her neighbors until the evening, when her new husband returns home.
"I am not afraid of anything happening to him, and I thank God. We are all willing to sacrifice our lives for Syria," Al-Qassad said. "I thank God above all else."
Another single loud explosion thundered in the background as they spoke. The couple didn't even flinch.
"I pray no one is hurt" Jumbaz calmly said. He turned to his wife, who wore a faded purple coat and tight black headscarf.
"Please, go ahead," he said, kindly signaling her to speak.
"We will not surrender, God willing," she said. "We are walking along the righteous path. My cousins, my neighbors, the children of my neighbors all died, and many more have lost their lives. But I am not sad. We will be victorious in this life and the afterlife."
Al-Qassab looks older than her 18 years, and she speaks with impenetrable courage and bravery that generally masks any semblance of a giggling blushing bride only a few weeks into her marriage.
"We were married September 13, 2011," she said before finally cracking a smile and beginning to laugh. "I mean 2012." She turns to her husband, blushing and embarrassed. He looks down to hide that he is laughing, too, instead mumbling to correct her: "2012."
Nothing it seems but sheer faith in God moves the newlyweds and inspires them to love, and to fight and resist forces in Syria they feel must end.
After nearly every sentence, they defiantly say "Alhamdulillah," a common Muslim phrase meaning "I thank God."
"My only hope is that this monster will be removed from power so we can live in peace and our children can live in peace," Al-Qassab starts.
"And if not our kids, then the children of our community even if we die," her husband adds. "Alhamdulillah."