"People think we are growing beards because we're Al Qaeda. We're growing beards because we don't have razor blades," Mutawi said, though his was neatly trimmed. "Send us razor blades and we'll shave the beards."
"We will have to fight with whatever we have; there is no other solution," he said.
On the television in a smoke-filled room in a Qusair apartment, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" played silently in the background as the men ate dates.
Without heavy weapons, rebels say, they have to act more strategically.
Though the militias say they are refraining from offensive action, they also say they have begun sending groups of fighters to the capital to carry out small operations: attacking buses carrying members of the shabiha militia or security force vehicles, or even conducting assassinations.
"The final battle is going to be in Damascus, just like it was in Tripoli," in Libya, Jumaa said.
In an online video posted last week a Free Syrian Army militia operating in Damascus and its suburbs claimed responsibility for assassinating six high-ranking security and government officials, including the director of general security and the defense minister. The claims were denied by the interior minister, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim Shaar, who was among those the rebels claimed to have killed.
Some say thousands of fighters have been sent to Damascus to prepare for the end of the peace plan; others say the number is more modest. In any case, it signals the uprising is likely to become bloodier.
"The minute Annan, that dog, says there is no cease-fire and I have nothing to do with Syria, we're going to light the capital on fire," said Fidaa Aamir, a member of the Soldiers of the Merciful militia in Qusair, who each night leads residents in chants and song.
"We've already poured the oil on Assad," said another man puffing on a hookah. "Now we're just waiting to light the fuse."