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. Greek American

    I thought we already had an embargo on Iranian oil imports here???? And we just convinced the EU to do the same, beginning this July.

    February 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • hope


      Exactly... and according to President Obama, they are working... maybe for the Russians and Chinese... LOL!!!

      You don't build a nuclear program like what Iran's been bragging about while an embargo is WORKING!

      You know what I mean?

      February 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. leeintulsa

    i blame the rest of the world. the arab league has the troops to handle this. not sure who are members, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's most of n africa and the middle east..

    course, they are all having revolutions..

    europe.. asia.. guess no one thinks it's worth it.. why should we?

    February 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. leeintulsa

    and if it is true that iran put troops into syria, time to hold them accountable in the un. AND it sounds like time for a good old-fashioned blockade..

    February 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Greek American

    I thought we already had an embargo in place against the importation of Iranian oil?
    And the EU just recently agreed to do the same, beginning this July.

    February 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • hope

      See my response above. Thanks.

      February 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Greek American

    And can we stop with the ridiculous and childish "oh you burned my flag so now that means my country should carpet bomb yours" mentality?
    For all of you that feel that way, please tell me how that strategy worked out for GWBush in Iraq. Oh yeah, it was a complete joke! Innocent people (children) are being murdered so we should all feel some degree of sympathy.

    February 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    People make me sound as if I am in favor of letting people in Syria getting slaughtered.
    I am not.
    There has to be a concerted effort from other nations to resolve this; it should not fall on the US's shoulders all alone.
    What the hell are the other nations waiting for?
    Many of them are in Syria's backyard.
    There are many countries in the Arab League.
    There are many nations in the United Nations.
    There are many nations in NATO.
    The US provided back-up in Libya.
    The US can do the same here; back-up, not the lead.
    Something has to be done; but it needs to be a joint effort, and not rest soley on the Unites States.

    February 20, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • hope

      Not true. You've been here saying the same thing they're saying... only better!

      February 20, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Greek American


    Hahahaha thanks for clearing that up for me as I didn't think of it that way actually.
    You make a very good point.

    February 20, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • hope

      Somebody's gonna get it... might as well include Assad, as well.


      Just kidding, I think...

      February 20, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Greek American

    I share all of your feelings and understood what you meant completely. I also don't think there is an easy answer to this problem but its difficult on the other hand, to hear about all the murders daily.
    So then I take it we are moderates on this issue? Hahaha

    February 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I accidently hit 'report abuse'
      Please ignore, CNN.

      Greek, I guess we are moderates, lol.
      I just don't know what the answer is, I wish I did.
      I agree completely...it is hard to see the daily slaughter and NOT want to send in the calvary...but yeesh!
      A little help from our "friends" might be nice!

      February 20, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hope

    Oh, banasy?

    I think she's gone...

    Moderate, it is!

    ... later

    February 20, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Just for the week, dear Hope.
      Just for the week.

      February 20, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @banasy: you are leaving?

      February 20, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      No, leeimtulsa, I was speaking of Nicole Saidi, whom I thought hope was referring to.
      Why, would you miss me?
      (Gratutious ego stroke)

      February 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. leeintulsa

    @hope: and why are they more important than the sudan? more important than attrocities all over the world? because they have the internet?

    the rest of the world has watched us try this.. frankly, we suck at it...

    france had a new idea in libya, so far, so good there.. i think syria was even a french colony at one time..

    come on, frenchy, it might have been beginner's luck.. do it again. no-fly zone. destroy their stuff that's killing civilians...

    the deal is france has to just do it.. ya know.. them crazy french might already be setting something up..

    don't worry about russia and china.. what are they gonna do? nuke you? and iranians might get you even more allies.. let us know if you find any..

    February 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    Leeintulsa is saying let the French take the lead, as they did in Libya.
    Actually, I think he's right...

    February 20, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. leeintulsa

    i'm sorry – about half way through, i started talking to the french..

    February 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • hope

      Its okay. I'm new, here. We agree on everything. We do suck at war... We're a Christian nation and bloodshed is not our specialty. I read someone say the U.S. was heartless. They're so wrong. No doubt its because of our empathy for mankind that we're here day after day trying to help or move someone into doing something about the atrocities being committed against the people of Syria.

      Friends? I hope so.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • horsie4711

      What about Kashmir don't you see blood shed or as they do not have oil hence they are not humans. Please stop this nonsense.

      February 21, 2012 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
    • hope

      I agree... stop the nonsense.

      Kashmir the most beautiful region of Pakistan. I'd love to vacation there, but would fear for my safety.

      Post a link... of the story you're talking about

      February 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tellmenolies

      We're not a Christian nation,Hope... We're a nation whose constitution prohibits a state religion...we're a nation whose citizens are allowed to freely practice whichever religion they chose...

      February 23, 2012 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Greek American


    It shouldn't amaze us though I guess, that so many people have immediate attack and war against Syria as the only answer.
    Perhaps now I see more and more how Bush got elected for a second term in this country. And believe me, GWB has caused many of our 'friends' to disown us so I feel things would be different in Syria had this not been the case.

    February 20, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Oh, I agree that W cause almost irreparable damage to the way the world looks at the US.
      I don't thing that many people understood how far-reaching the ramification would be or how much it would cost the US for so many years to come...

      February 20, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leeintulsa

    maybe nato should just make a no-fly zone standard arab spring fare..

    February 20, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. hope

    I agree... I write the same way, sometimes
    I understand and I'm sorry.

    February 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
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