Editor's note: CNN correspondent Arwa Damon recently spent some time in 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 more than two weeks, damaging houses and other buildings and leaving many dead and wounded.
Damon was one of the few international reporters in Syria, whose government has been placing restrictions on journalists and refusing many of them entry. Below is the latest in a string of edited accounts of what Damon and her team saw and heard from activists in Homs:
Virtually no food has come into Baba Amr since the shelling began more than two weeks ago, activists say. So, the residents who are gathered in makeshift bunkers collect what food they can find there and carefully ration it – though those supplies are running out.
Some of what they’ve gathered comes from, among other places, stores that have been hit by artillery fire.
“We take the products to distribute so they don’t go to waste. We keep track of everything we took to reimburse the owners,” an activist says.
In hard-hit Baba Amr, hundreds live in makeshift shelters, having left their homes out of necessity – many have been destroyed – or fear. Navigating the rubble-strewn streets of Baba Amr is made more difficult, activists say, by frequent shelling by government forces and by government snipers. Under cover of darkness, teams head to stores to gather what little supplies are left, quickly loading lentils, diapers and cracked wheat into vehicles.
At one of the shelters, a woman shows off the dwindling food supply.
“There is no food. There is only cracked wheat and rice,” she said.
Another woman, who is at the shelter because her home was destroyed, volunteers at a medical clinic in the neighborhood. She said she had coffee and two cigarettes for the day, and nothing for two days before that.
“I can guarantee you this, people will starve to death," she said.
Baba Amr has been "completely cut off and services are pretty much nonexistent," Dima Moussa, a Chicago lawyer and a Syrian opposition activist, told CNN on Tuesday.
"Communicating with the activists in the area is becoming harder, so getting complete information about casualties is becoming difficult, and we think that the numbers far exceed those that we have been reporting, since we're only reporting those that we can confirm," she said.
The neighborhood has been "completely cut off and services are pretty much nonexistent," Moussa said.
Al-Assad has denied reports that his forces are targeting civilians, saying they are fighting armed gangs and foreign fighters bent on destabilizing the government. But many accounts inside the country say Syrian forces are killing civilians as part of a crackdown on anti-government opposition.
More detailed coverage of what's happening in Syria:
Monday, February 20: 'What is the world waiting for? For us to die of hunger and fear?'
Saturday, February 18: Residents bracing for the worst in Homs
Friday, February 17: Syrian protesters hail 'resistance'
Friday, February 17: In one Syrian town, full-throated cries of defiance
Thursday, February 16: Farmers, teachers, carpenters armed with rifles fear massacre
Thursday, February 16: Wounds ooze, doctors cry in Syrian city
Wednesday, February 15: Activists say trying to flee from homes under attack is virtually a suicide run
Tuesday, February 14: Fearful residents prepare for a bloody battle