Aleppo, Syria (CNN) -- With the precision of a master chef, Sheik Omar adjusts the intensity of the flame under his pan.
He mixes table sugar with a noxious chemical, letting it hiss and crackle.
"It's almost ready," he says, as the syrupy liquid darkens.
Sheik Omar keeps his face hidden. Bomb makers always work in secret.
Men warm themselves by a fire on a street corner in Aleppo, Syria, on Sunday, December 9. Click through to view images of the fighting from December, or see photos of the conflict from November.
A rebel soldier watches Al-Jazeera news in a shop near the front lines in Aleppo on December 9.
A rebel soldier prays in a shop in Aleppo on December 9.
Syrians mourn a fallen fighter at a rebel base in the al-Fardos area of Aleppo on Saturday, December 8.
A Syria rebel commander sits behind a desk in his bombed-out position in Aleppo on December 8.
A Syrian rebel fighter emerges from a hole in a wall in Aleppo on December 8.
Rebel fighters take part in a demonstration against the Syrian regime after Friday prayers in Aleppo on December 7.
A wounded rebel fighter is transported to a hospital in the back of a truck in Aleppo, Syria, on Thursday, December 6. At least 23 people died in Syria on Thursday, most of them in Damascus and Aleppo, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria.
Rebel soldiers stand guard inside a building in Aleppo on December 6.
Angelina Jolie, special envoy for the U.N. refugee agency, meets with Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp outside Mafraq, Jordan, on December 6.
In this handout from the Shaam News Network, Free Syrian Army fighters stand guard against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Al-khalidiya neighborhood of Homs on Tuesday, December 4.
In this handout from the Shaam News Network, Free Syrian Army fighters take cover in destroyed buildings during clashes with regime forces on December 4.
Syrians cross the border from Ras al-Ain, Syria, to the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar on Tuesday, December 4.
Boys walk through a damaged area In Aleppo, Syria, seen through a destroyed car on December 4.
A man inspects rubble in a neighborhood of Aleppo on Sunday, December 2.
The bodies of three children reportedly killed in a mortar shell attack are laid out for relatives to identify at a makeshift hospital in Aleppo on December 2.
Smoke rises from fighting in the Hanano and Bustan al-Basha districts of Aleppo on Saturday, December 1.
Syrian-Kurdish women and members of the Popular Protection Units, an armed opposition group to the Syrian government, stand guard during a comrade's funeral in a northern Syrian border village on December 1.
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He looks at us and his eyes are friendly and calm. Our crew is unafraid. He's clearly been at this for many years. He has all his fingers. A Syrian, he grew up existing with death and violence and a government that made people live in fear. So wouldn't a young man naturally fascinated with putting things together end up constructing weapons for a living?
While he works in the kitchen of his family home in Aleppo Province, Sheik Omar tells us that he's a man of peace.
He believes he doesn't have a choice but to make bombs. Foreign countries aren't helping the rebels enough to overtake the heavily armed forces that President Bashar al-Assad commands. The rebels need all the help they can get.
Those men across the country, he says, have abandoned their regular lives teaching or selling clothes or being lawyers to come together and fight to get rid of that man. It's been nearly two years. They've lost their lives and families. At least 40,000 Syrians have died. Someone with his skills should do what he can.
Sheik Omar shouts out the window to his kids playing in the yard.
Bring your father more sugar, please!
The kids bounce into the house, helping him, handing him ingredients.
There are half-made bombs and rockets around the house. His wife is in another room. She isn't talking to us, which isn't strange. This is his interview, and she's showing deference.
Sheik Omar tells us as he cooks that he used to work with an assistant. That was years ago when he was less experienced. There was an explosion, and the assistant died.
Better to work alone, he says.
Besides, he doesn't make much money at all doing this. He does this because he believes he has a purpose, and he's good at it.
Sheik Omar tells us he trained in Libya in weapons making and fought alongside the Palestinians against the Israelis in the 1980s. He's always believed that Israel is the oppressor, and no matter what, the Palestinians have a right to their land. In his time as a soldier for the Palestinian cause, the Israelis caught him twice and detained him.
What do you imagine happens to a man in that circumstance? But that was nothing, compared to what al-Assad is doing, he huffs.
The Israelis, they had more mercy, Sheik Omar insists.
Human rights workers, journalists and Syrians fighting to oust the longtime president claim al-Assad has established torture centers around the country, chaining prisoners by their wrists for days, beating them and inflicting unspeakable pain. There have been reports of children being shot by regime snipers, stories of al-Assad's forces going door to door and murdering whole families.
Al-Assad has claimed for these many months of violence that "terrorists" are attacking Syria, and the country has a right to defend itself.
Sheik Omar shows us one of his latest creations. It's a sleek rocket that stands about three feet off the ground. The thing looks sophisticated. It's hard to tell he's cobbled it together from bits and pieces of unexploded ordinances fired by al-Assad's forces.
Sheik Omar gingerly holds the rocket.
"From here to here, for example," he says, tracing his fingers along its body, "It's our adjustment, as are the fins."
It's a crude device, like many of the ones he makes. Sometimes he would construct something and it would, mid-flight, turn around and shoot back at him.
But these are the hazards he's willing to deal with.
Sheik Omar uses the word democracy. Syria could be democratic, he believes.
First the al-Assad regime must go. But that won't be the end.
There will be a revolution after this one. There will be more bloodshed.
Revolution begets revolution, he insists. It will take several cycles of violence before Syria can hope for peace.
What other choice do people like him have? he asks. How else to get rid of the extremists?
CNN's Arwa Damon reported from Syria. CNN's Ashley Fantz wrote this story in Atlanta.