February 17th, 2012
12:19 PM ET

Inside Syria: Supplies, hope run low in bunker where hundreds hide

Editor's note: CNN correspondent Arwa Damon is reporting 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 are seeing and hearing from activists in Homs:

In hard-hit Baba Amr, about 350 people who've fled their homes out of fear or necessity are living in a building that they've made into a makeshift bunker. Conditions are desperate.

Restricted by frequent 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.

A trip outside with members of the Free Syrian Army - the anti-al-Assad force of military defectors - shows how troublesome moving about has become. Navigating the deserted and rubble-strewn streets of Baba Amr, should you want to risk the firing, is difficult.

When they need to drive, residents, activists and Syrian Free Army members use only certain roads that they believe aren't eyed by government snipers, and even then they have to floor the accelerator in certain parts to avoid being targeted.

The majority of residents are staying indoors or have already fled. Rubble from blasted pieces of buildings litters the streets.

Activists guided CNN's team to homes that had been shelled and abandoned. Pieces of wall lie on the floors under holes that expose the buildings to the elements. Many rooms look like families fled them in a panic - shoes and other personal belongings have been left behind. In one destroyed bedroom sat a baby crib next to a larger bed, with a child's bag hanging off the side.

The homes have other holes - those purposely cut in the back of buildings by the Syrian Free Army to help residents escape. Families left through these square holes, because firing prevented them from leaving through the front.

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:

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

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Percy

    Wonder has the opposition finally figured out there will be NO outside help forthcoming? Yes it is so very true and they must plan accordingly even if it means surrender, otherwise they will be destroyed in due time.

    February 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jerry matters

    I'm sorry but everytime your Candy Crowley appears, I switch over to FOX.Just can't handle the visual.


    February 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sharkfisher

    I will gladly send supplies if someone will loan ma B-52

    February 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chethu

    Why this Damon hear only from Activists and CNN report only what Activists say? Is it not exposing the conspiracy of west (US, UK and France) and CNN and BBC want to report only what activists say..??? Syria is burning because of conspiracy of west to create mayhem in Syria to get their puppet ruling the country. I know US and UK are mighty at current world. Might is right is the proverb. There is also a proverb ... Every dog has one bad day for it. So.. the barking dogs like CNN and BBC will have bad days too. Only thing is where from those bad days will come and when.

    February 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    @ banasy lol, furry is the accepted *f* word doncha know?

    February 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
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