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Syria: Old Homs Under Siege for a Year

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests

This month marks the first anniversary of the siege of the old city of Homs, often described as the capital of the Syrian Revolution. Homs, one of the first revolutionary Syrian cities to revolt against the tyranny of Bashar Al Assad, along with 14 neighborhoods and districts of the old city, including Baba Amr, Bab Sbaa, Khalidiya and Deir Balba, has been subjected to bombardment by the Syrian regime, shelling and raids for more than two years, making the daily survival even harder as food and medical supplies dwindle.

homs...city under siege by abdulrahman-romano

Homs…city under siege
by abdulrahman-romano

In November 2012, Global Voices Online ran a post entitled Homs, A Revolutionary Syrian City in Ruins. The “siege” of the 14 neighborhoods in Homs is a special case – and is not similar to other Syrian cities. It is a reminder of the siege of Gaza. However, in Homs there are no secret tunnels to smuggle basic supplies, medical aid and injured and sick people. In Homs, a few thousand people are trapped in an area where there were 400,000 people residing.  reported on Storify:

What is being called the Siege of Homs is arguably the most intense war zone in all of Syria at the moment. The siege has been going on for months with the death tolls on both sides of the conflict adding up daily. Below are pictures, tweets, and videos of the people striving to survive.

 

In old Homs, there is no agricultural land to grow vegetables and fruit, resulting in shortages in food supplies. This video shows children picking leaves and complaining about the lack of food:

There is also no hospital or medical center, [Al Amal Hospital was fully destroyed on April 1, 2012]. Instead, some [warning: link to graphic video showing an injured person undergoing an operation without anesthesia] makeshift hospitals rely on trainees to serve patients.

The government has also cut services such as electricity, water or communications in the besieged neighbourhoods. Instead, the survival of the inhabitants depends on water from wells, electricity generators and the use of satellite communications. There are no schools, universities or educational institutions. Instead, hundreds of children are living daily bombings and continuous daily shelling by mortar, rocket launchers, long-range missiles, tanks and warplane raids.

Syrian activists posted this video on the Facebook page of Break the siege of Homs on June 6, 2013, revealing the destruction of the city.

The blog Greater Syria posted a heart-breaking story under the title Yasin and Maryam Sabbagh…End the Siege on Homs, which describes the murder of a brother and sister (Yassin and Maryam) who were killed by a mortar bomb, fired by the regime’s forces in pro-regime districts, while playing outside their home. A video of their martyrdom with an emotional comment said:

A short while ago, a piece of news stabbed my heart hard and petrified my eyes in disbelief. [.....] Maryam and Yassin Sabbagh drawing what their life has been limited to: mortars, shelling, darkness, fear, and destruction; deprived from education, from schools, from having friends and neighbours to play with, from enjoying the blessings of life like world’s children, from food and sanitary water, from electricity, from everything..

Break the siege of Homs. Source Facebook page

Break the siege of Homs. Source Facebook page

On his Facebook page, Yazan Homsi calls upon Syrians to support the revolution and not let the martyrs down. He posted a letter written by an activist who reminded all Syrian activists of their pledge to protect the revolution until it achieves its goals:

عتب شهيد على كل متخاذل ….
تاريخ الكتابة 9-6-2013 حمص – المنطقة المحاصرة
تاريخ الشهادة 10-6-2013 حمص – المنطقة المحاصرة

A reproach from a martyr for everyone not living up to his duty…
Written Date 09/06/2013 Homs – the besieged area
Martyrdom Date 10/06/2013 Homs – the besieged area

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests

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