Sunday February 26, 2012
Avaaz Syria update
Baba Amr: “We have not drunk clean water for three days and have only dates to eat.”
• Baba Amr residents struggle to survive as regime continues to block water and food supplies
• Appeal for urgent medical assistance for 70 civilians injured in regime attack on Bab Sibaa, Homs
HEAVY regime mortar fire continues in Homs today, with bombardment focusing on the city centre, particular in al-Hamidiyeh, al-Souq and also Insha’at and Baba Amr.
Residents told Avaaz of a quickly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Baba Amr.
A resident of Baba Amr told Avaaz via Skype: “We have not drunk clean water in three days. This is very worrying. Thirst is now the main issue. We have only dates to eat.”
Four international journalists continue to be stranded in Baba Amr, two of them in a field hospital. A citizen journalist, ‘Waleed’, told Avaaz that the trips foreign journalists make to Homs are crucial. “We must get our message out, we must show the world what is happening and for that, journalists need to bear witness. We protect the journalists, we protect them with our lives. When we cross streets, we shield them from snipers with our own bodies because they have come to share in and understand our suffering.”
As many as 70 people are at risk of dying from shrapnel injuries in Bab Sibaa following a brutal attack by regime forces yesterday, firing dozens of mortars indiscriminately into the neighbourhood, according to reliable medical sources in the city.
One source told Avaaz: ”
Bab Sibaa hospital has only one doctor and one nurse, and there are no instruments or an operation room there, so there is a chance many of the injured might die.”
Avaaz citizen journalists reported that the humanitarian situation in Insha’at neighbourhood, Homs, is “worse than in Baba Amr.” Houses have been taken over and tanks deployed in the streets. Snipers are targeting civilians peering out of their windows.
An activist speaking anonymously to Avaaz via Skype said he had asked the Syrian Red Crescent to send urgent medicine to a relative with a serious heart condition. The Red Crescent failed to deliver it.
Citizen journalists say there are neighbourhoods that are worse than others but even those classified as being “okay” have severe shortages of bread and water. Waleed said: “In neighbourhoods like that, you get 6 or 7 hours of electricity, which is the case in al-Khaldiyeh at the moment. You can get bread but you have to queue for half a day.”
Residents attempt to flee the stricken neighbourhood al-Hamidiyeh today. An eyewitness reported to Avaaz: “I watched people trying to escape from al-Hamidiyeh but where will they go? Neighbourhoods they could have escaped to like al-Qarabees and al-Shayah have been shelled recently.”
One resident who escaped Homs, who must remain anonymous for security reasons, explained her family’s situation via Skype: “Assad forces are taking over all neighbouring areas around Baba Amr – Jobar, Kafr Aya and Sultaniyeh – through which my family was spread.
“My family were pushed out of their homes in Sultaniyeh as the army forces took over the homes in the neighbourhood. Many men were taken and we don’t know which of our relatives were taken till now. This means women and children and some men are being left homeless. This is my family now: homeless as they have nowhere to go. In Jobar, Assad’s army moved into the streets. Relatives fled before being pushed out as tanks surrounded homes. Men were arrested at checkpoints including some of my uncles, cousins who were arrested before they managed to leave. One of my relatives escaped with her 2 kids. She said she hadn’t washed her kids for 2 weeks, there is no proper water, and they were left with nothing.
“The fact Assad’s army took all our homes bordering Baba Amr means they want a ground attack on Baba Amr.”
Polls open in a referendum for a drafted constitution. A presenter on Syrian State TV claimed today that 800,000 polling stations have been opened in Lattakia alone to deal with thousands of citizens that are rushing to the polls.
For further information or requests for interviews with Avaaz citizen journalists please contact Will Davies on