Screen grab from a video showing the Arab League delegation visiting Homs.
More than 70,000 people flooded the streets of Syria’s restive city of Homs to greet Arab League observers on Tuesday, just one day after the delegation arrived in the country to monitor a nine-month-long crackdown on anti-government protests.
This video shows an Arab League observer from Sudan (wearing a green sweater and a navy blue jacket) accompanied by Syrian officials (in bright orange vests and wearing badges). A resident of the neighbourhood of Baba Amr accuses the Syrian officials of hiding the truth from the observer:
Young man: “I’m a resident of this neighbourhood!”
Syrian official (wearing a beige vest): “All statements to the media must go through the president of the [Arab League] delegation.”
Young man: “OK, but you, you tell the observers what you’ve seen! [He turns to another person] Film this. [Addressing the official again:] We can’t cross the street because there are snipers on the roofs. This isn’t a statement to the media, it’s reality! You’ve seen it yourself, and you’ve got to tell the delegation’s president! We are getting killed!”
A voice off-camera: “There were 20 martyrs today!”
Another voice: “Unarmed civilians are dying!”
Yet another voice: “Walk farther down that way, and you’ll see tanks!”
Just before the Arab League observers arrived in Syria, Homs residents said that while most tanks had left the neighbourhood of Baba Amr, some remained, as can be seen in this video:
The blasts at the end of the video (at 0’52) come from the army shooting several blocks away, still in the Baba Amr neighbourhood. You can hear the same detonations in this video
This video shows the same Arab League observer visiting one of the streets that was bombarded Monday morning.
The video below shows the same street, with the same mortar fire damage and the same puddles of blood as in the previous video.
Just before the Arab League observers arrived in Homs, we spoke with two of our sources living there, who said that faced this extreme violence, they have all but lost hope. They believe that the Arab League delegation sent to monitor the situation in the country is powerless to do anything, and are convinced that at this point, nobody will help them.