Snipers rule the streets in the besieged Syrian city of Homs

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For months, the Syrian city of Homs has been the focus of opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, with almost daily protests since the summer.

More recently, defectors from the military have begun organizing armed resistance. Meanwhile, government forces have tightened their siege of rebellious neighborhoods that are now under the control of the opposition.

A freelance journalist and filmmaker — who is not named for his own security — has just left Homs, and over the next few days CNN will be showcasing his remarkable stories from the front lines of a city at war.

Among the bullet-scarred walls of neighborhoods under siege, he encountered the government snipers who prowl the city picking off their victims apparently indiscriminately and at will.

He found snipers stationed on almost every main street, manning checkpoints on both sides and firing at anybody crossing the street between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. the next day — imposing a kind of unofficial curfew.

He spoke to one woman whose daughter was seven months pregnant when she was shot in the head as she tried to venture out of the house to do some shopping. The snipers kept shooting as relatives tried to reach the pregnant woman where she lay dead in the street, before finally they were able to bring her body back to her mother’s home.

To film what was going on, the journalist too had to risk his life on the streets of Homs, with about 1 million inhabitants the country’s third-largest city.

View his images in hi-res

“I had to cross several times exactly the same streets where people got shot several minutes before. And you arrive at a scene where half an hour ago someone got shot and 30 minutes later people are crossing the street normally,” he said.

“Me crossing the street, I was feeling literally that the sniper is aiming at me and it is up to him if he is going to pull the trigger or not.”

Residents describe the daily struggle of life in the cross-hairs, some telling how they throw bread and other supplies across the street to others who cannot safely traverse to reach a shop.

A monitoring mission from the Arab League arrived in the city Tuesday but opposition activists fear they will not see the full extent of a brutal government crackdown that the United Nations says has claimed more than 5,000 lives nationwide.

Despite the days-long military siege, thousands turned out for anti-government demonstrations as the Arab League team entered the city.

The fact-finding team is monitoring an Arab League initiative that calls for Al-Assad’s security forces to withdraw from cities, release detainees and end violence.

But from what he has seen in Homs, the journalist thinks the point of no return has already been reached. So many people have been killed already that those going out to protest don’t believe the authorities would let them live even if they stayed at home, he said.

His is a rare insight into the realities of the situation in Homs. The Syrian government has limited journalists’ access to the country since its crackdown on protests began, making it impossible to verify many reports. Most information has come from activist groups seeking to keep the world informed of the ongoing violence. They put the death toll at more than 6,000.

The unrest began in March when protesters, emboldened by democracy movements in Tunisia and Egypt, called for open elections and an increase in political freedoms, and demanded an end to brutal regime actions.

The movement quickly spiraled into a call for the ouster of al-Assad, and the regime cracked down on peaceful demonstrators. The government says it is combating “armed terrorist groups.”

CNN

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25 responses to “Snipers rule the streets in the besieged Syrian city of Homs”

  1. Ya Bashar…the clock is ticking faster, however, you cannot hear it because you are deaf, and you cannot see the hands of the clock moving faster, because you are blind, and you cannot comprehend my words, written here, because you are dumb. Deaf, Dumb and Blind….bye, bye, ya Bashar….either you are done tommorrow and don’t see 2012, or you will be done before the end of 2012, but no way in hell, you will see 2013, and that is certain…impossible….enjoy the time you have left, because it is not much….Your father is going to kick your ass, because you let him down…he wanted you to kill even MORE people, and he is waiting for you, to ask you how you could have lost Syria, so quickly and so stupidly….you will see him soon, I am sure…when you enter the gates of Hell….you think it’s hot now? Wait until you get to hell, you bxstard…..

    1. What amazes me most is your revenge mentality. A note of brotherly advice, any person or nation that is built on revenge mentality can never succeed to bring forward a lasting peace and democracy in the long run.

      Let us get away from this perverse tribal mentality which in the end destroys all of us and serves no one.

      1. Maybe YOU are amazed by my “revenge mentality”, because YOU did not have family members SLAUGHTERED BY THIS REGIME. It’s very easy for you to preach about blah, blah, blah….but maybe YOU did not suffer like my family and I suffered, so fxxk you too….

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          I may understand, but don’t think that ‘so fxxk you too’ was called for CS.

      2. you call it revenge mentality, but to others it is JUSTICE in action…

  2. Ya Bashar…the clock is ticking faster, however, you cannot hear it because you are deaf, and you cannot see the hands of the clock moving faster, because you are blind, and you cannot comprehend my words, written here, because you are dumb. Deaf, Dumb and Blind….bye, bye, ya Bashar….either you are done tommorrow and don’t see 2012, or you will be done before the end of 2012, but no way in hell, you will see 2013, and that is certain…impossible….enjoy the time you have left, because it is not much….Your father is going to kick your ass, because you let him down…he wanted you to kill even MORE people, and he is waiting for you, to ask you how you could have lost Syria, so quickly and so stupidly….you will see him soon, I am sure…when you enter the gates of Hell….you think it’s hot now? Wait until you get to hell, you bxstard…..

    1. What amazes me most is your revenge mentality. A note of brotherly advice, any person or nation that is built on revenge mentality can never succeed to bring forward a lasting peace and democracy in the long run.

      Let us get away from this perverse tribal mentality which in the end destroys all of us and serves no one.

      1. Maybe YOU are amazed by my “revenge mentality”, because YOU did not have family members SLAUGHTERED BY THIS REGIME. It’s very easy for you to preach about blah, blah, blah….but maybe YOU did not suffer like my family and I suffered, so fxxk you too….

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          I may understand, but don’t think that ‘so fxxk you too’ was called for CS.

      2. you call it revenge mentality, but to others it is JUSTICE in action…

  3. Ya Bashar…the clock is ticking faster, however, you cannot hear it because you are deaf, and you cannot see the hands of the clock moving faster, because you are blind, and you cannot comprehend my words, written here, because you are dumb. Deaf, Dumb and Blind….bye, bye, ya Bashar….either you are done tommorrow and don’t see 2012, or you will be done before the end of 2012, but no way in hell, you will see 2013, and that is certain…impossible….enjoy the time you have left, because it is not much….Your father is going to kick your ass, because you let him down…he wanted you to kill even MORE people, and he is waiting for you, to ask you how you could have lost Syria, so quickly and so stupidly….you will see him soon, I am sure…when you enter the gates of Hell….you think it’s hot now? Wait until you get to hell, you bxstard…..

    1.  Avatar

      What amazes me most is your revenge mentality. A note of brotherly advice, any person or nation that is built on revenge mentality can never succeed to bring forward a lasting peace and democracy in the long run.

      Let us get away from this perverse tribal mentality which in the end destroys all of us and serves no one.

      1. Maybe YOU are amazed by my “revenge mentality”, because YOU did not have family members SLAUGHTERED BY THIS REGIME. It’s very easy for you to preach about blah, blah, blah….but maybe YOU did not suffer like my family and I suffered, so fxxk you too….

        1.  Avatar

          I may understand, but don’t think that ‘so fxxk you too’ was called for CS.

      2.  Avatar

        you call it revenge mentality, but to others it is JUSTICE in action…

  4. This kind of scenery and stories is slightly starting to remind me of how the Lebanese war started. Lets face it, for those of us that grew up during the Lebanese war we were aware that “snipers did rule the street” and most of us growing up wouldnt dare cross a Lebanese street without knowing it is completely safe. Its sad whats happening in Syria, but lets not make the Sunnis angels here, those Sunnis that are defecting many of them committed atrocious crimes in Lebanon. Because most of the Syrian army that was in Lebanon were Sunnis, (Not the intelligence, obvious those were Alawites. But yes in general the massacres must stop, i hope Assad is burned alive, while hismukhabarat are all hanged. This is almost like a karma for Syria, sadly many good must die for a true democracy but in the end those martyrs will be remembered forever. This is starting to become very much like the civil war many reasons so far (Sectarianism; killing based on religion, defecting and splitting army, snipers on streets, food shortages, Arab League observers (more like Arab Joke observers). As the whole saying goes “tables shall turn” i guess its Syrias turn. Everyone will know in Syria now how the Lebanese felt since 1975, this will teach the future generations of Syria TO LEAVE LEBANON ALONE.

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      There is a lot of thinking to be changed yet, Beiruti.

  5.  Avatar

    This kind of scenery and stories is slightly starting to remind me of how the Lebanese war started. Lets face it, for those of us that grew up during the Lebanese war we were aware that “snipers did rule the street” and most of us growing up wouldnt dare cross a Lebanese street without knowing it is completely safe. Its sad whats happening in Syria, but lets not make the Sunnis angels here, those Sunnis that are defecting many of them committed atrocious crimes in Lebanon. Because most of the Syrian army that was in Lebanon were Sunnis, (Not the intelligence, obvious those were Alawites. But yes in general the massacres must stop, i hope Assad is burned alive, while hismukhabarat are all hanged. This is almost like a karma for Syria, sadly many good must die for a true democracy but in the end those martyrs will be remembered forever. This is starting to become very much like the civil war many reasons so far (Sectarianism; killing based on religion, defecting and splitting army, snipers on streets, food shortages, Arab League observers (more like Arab Joke observers). As the whole saying goes “tables shall turn” i guess its Syrias turn. Everyone will know in Syria now how the Lebanese felt since 1975, this will teach the future generations of Syria TO LEAVE LEBANON ALONE.

    1.  Avatar

      There is a lot of thinking to be changed yet, Beiruti.

    2. I have to agree with you, even though others might think it is not right. This is a PRIME example, of what goes around, REALLY and TRULY, comes around. The blood of all those Lebanese who were so mercilessly tortured, mutilated, and killed by the Syrian regime, during the war years, is now coming back to haunt the Syrian people.

      I feel bad for the innocents, but then again, where were the Syrian people when our people were  being slaughtered? For 20 years, did they have the courage to rise up and admonish their “leaders” to stop killing their Lebanese “brethren”. The answer is NO…..

      The only good part of all this, if we can say there is a good part, is soon, it will end for Bath Assad, and most likely, the ending won’t be pretty.

      Hopefully, when it happens, and rest assured, ya Bath Assad, it WILL happen, my only hope is that it will be a very, very, very slow, and very painful death for ALL Bath Assad, starting with the Matriarch Anisa, the Big Sharmoutha who gave birth to all these evil devils, her daughter, that evil witch, Bushra and her equally evil husband, Assef Shawket, then Bashar, his wife, his children, his brother Maher, his uncles, his cousins, Walid Mouallem, Bouthaina “Sharmoutha” Shaiban, Farouk Sharaa (yes, just because he is quiet NOW, let’s not forget the pain this bastard inflicted upon Lebanon), and of course, last but certainly not least, my favorite: The Butcher of Lebanon>>>>Rhustom Ghazelah….he really, and truly needs to suffer.

      Most important, they don’t die quickly with no pain. They have to suffer, and keep suffering, and hopefully for as long as possible, and then finish them off…make them beg to be killed, to ease their suffering…the same suffering they inflicted on 100,000 Lebanese. They need to squeal, like the pigs that they are. Don’t forget and always remember.

  6. 5thDrawer Avatar

    The truth will come out. Will it set them free?

  7.  Avatar

    The truth will come out. Will it set them free?

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