February 20th, 2012
11:11 AM ET

Inside Syria: 'What is the world waiting for? For us to die of hunger and fear?'

Editor's note: CNN correspondent Arwa Damon reported from Baba Amr, a neighborhood in Homs, Syria, a city that has been a flashpoint in a months-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Government forces have shelled parts of the city  especially Baba Amr, a bastion of anti-government sentiment for two weeks, damaging houses and other buildings and leaving many dead and wounded.

Damon is one of the few international reporters in Syria, whose government has been placing restrictions on journalists and refusing many of them entry. Below is an edited account of what Damon and her team saw and heard from activists in Homs:

This small hall was once filled with laughter. Marriages took place here. Now the echoing sounds are not of joy, but of tragedy.

In this makeshift bunker, some of the families of Baba Amr who have nowhere else to go huddle. But, it offers them very little comfort.

"We're not sleeping at night, we're not sleeping during the day," a man named Ilham howls. "The children are always crying, the bombs are coming down."

Often they huddle in near darkness.

Some cover their faces, still afraid of the government's relentless shelling. They are afraid, they said, they might lose more than they already have. Conditions here are desperate

In hard-hit Baba Amr, about 350 people who've fled their homes out of fear or necessity are living in the makeshift bunker.

Restricted by seemingly constant shelling and gunfire outside, they don't have any medicine, let alone the ability to get to a hospital. Children are getting sick, and one woman recently gave birth there. They have little food  some lentils and rice and a little bread.

They fled here either because their homes were destroyed by shelling, or because the firing was getting too close.

Just about everyone in the bunker says they've either lost a loved one to the violence, or have a loved one who has been detained.

One woman's son has been detained since the end of august, another woman's son, this one right here for a month and a half.

We just walked in here and we've been swamped, bombarded by these people's tragic stories here.

Most of them survive on basic staples of rice and lentils taken from a government warehouse nearby, but supplies are running low.

The room is one filled with endless stories of both death and despair.

Safa'as brother and husband were killed when a round struck their home 10 days ago. She can hardly pause to grieve or really comprehend what has happened.

"I have to keep going, I have to live for my children," she says.

The activists take a moment to gather for our camera. All they want is to tell their stories.

"My husband died on the first day of the bombing, they didn't let me see his body, it was shredded to pieces, "Umm Khidir recalls."His blood is still in the streets and feel his son, he's sick and there is no medicine.

"He keeps crying saying I want daddy, I want daddy, I can't bring his daddy back, what is the world waiting for? For us to die of hunger and fear?"

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Filed under: CNN Inside Syria • Syria
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Nodack

    So the headline here is 'Conservatives pressure Obama on Syria" I click this link and it's a story about the hardships in Syria, but at no time mentions Conservatives or Obama. Then I read comments about Iran and I'm like WTF.

    February 20, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. leeintulsa

    @greek: i wonder if w didn't plant the seed that started 'arab spring'.. could he have been *that* visionary?

    did i just praise him? BAD, BAD lee..

    February 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      No, he wasn't a visionary, unless he was only looking to chasing the dime...
      And if that's what he was doing, he had a lot of different groups whispering in his dainty ear...

      February 20, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nodack

    This article says Conservatives pressure Obama on Syria. I click on it and it's about the hardships in Syria, but never mentions Conservatives or Obama. Then I go to the comments section and it's all about Iran?

    February 20, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greek American

    @leeintulsa

    Hmmm thanks for that comment as you have definitely opened my mind and I will have to also take that into consideration. Thanks, excellent point!

    And yes I guess there is some room for praise no matter who you are? Hahaha

    February 20, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Greek American

    @Nodack

    Wrong thread, there's another article about that on here though. But conservatives= axis of evil= Syria= Iran. Those all add up to CNN blogs world hahahahaha.

    February 20, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nodack

      Thanks.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. leeintulsa

    @greek: my mouth still feels dirty.. lol

    February 20, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      One word: Listerine.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hope

    Geeesh!

    I lost my internet connection and... that last comment sounded pretty bad. Specialty? What is our specialty, anyway?

    Drones!
    :)

    Nite

    February 21, 2012 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. horsie4711

    Dear why stick your nose in other countries interior affairs.Just go home leave the people alone.Earlier you sang songs of W Md's in Iraq where are they now you are singing about human rights violations. You guys are deaf dumb and blind as you do not see the same in Kashmir.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. hope

    @ horsey: I agree... look back. I didn't say that. IMO this is not about oil. And how could anyone disagree with you, violence is everywhere

    February 21, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. Rachel

    I hope that the world and the US step in and help the Syrian people soon, as it's horrible what they are having to endure, but here's what I don't get. People want the US to help when this happens, but at the same time, if we do help we get blamed for interferring. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

    February 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ma & pa

    Assad-dictator first, secular second. Arab spring shakes up government in power but could lead to al Qaeda or Muslim Brotherhood in power further down the line. Democratic Secular governance could end Theocratic sect mob rule genocide before it begins. No fighting along religious sect hatred lines allowed. But all some sects know how to do is kill each other ("slay the infidel"even your own) instead off finding shared peaceful beliefs to save themselves. Many in world knew that Homs people shared for peace and now they're getting hit bad. Schememers would harm the known more reasonable ones and make mommies and babies cry, to make heros rush to their defense. What alliances would like to weary and weaken the free world even more? The situation looks somewhat like a trap, baited with the real suffering of the helpless innocents. Beware of direct military intervention and know the real instigators. Known moves, too near midnight, could tumble the Jackstraw construct.

    February 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. csm-101

    The U.S. has absolutly no business in syria, leave em alone.

    February 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. csm-101

    Tellmenolies, wrong the U.S. is a Christian nation who welcome and tolerates other religions

    February 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. phetskhat Sorphainam

    the rebels are fighting the regimes government and the journalists are runing a way from the bullets so the villagers must have a good bunger to hide if they want to stay. so the victims of vietnam war were laotiane, South vietnamese, combodiane ,but the combodian got a lot suffers because of civil war and I ( laotiane) laid down my Arm on O'ctober,26,1980 after learning that the thai government would top supply the rebels in the jungle of thailand.

    July 26, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
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