SYRIA

Syrian youth ‘shot down’ while filming neighbourhood violence

 As Syrian security forces reportedly raided a neighbourhood in the western city of Homs on July 1, a young man stepped out onto a balcony to film the violence. Moments later, it seems a uniformed officer spots the young man, points his gun and shoots.

Advertising

A man in a green uniform aims his gun at a young man filming a security crackdown on a neighbourhood in Syria's western city of Homs.

 

As Syrian security forces reportedly raided a neighbourhood in the western city of Homs on July 1, a young man stepped out onto a balcony to film the violence. Moments later, it seems a uniformed officer spots the young man, points his gun and shoots.

 

WARNING: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS DISTURBING IMAGES

 

Video published July 4 on Liveleak

 

In the beginning of the video, the person filming the crackdown describes the scene.

 

“It’s the July 1, 2011. Syrian forces are shooting at people even though there aren’t any demonstrations going on. It’s morning”, he says.

 

As the person films his surroundings, one can hear the echo of slogans being chanted by protesters and the sharp crack of gunfire. The camera then zooms in on a man donning a green uniform, who spots the person filming perched on a balcony, raises his gun and fixes his target in his crosshairs. A shot rings out, the camera tumbles to the ground and continues to record.

 

A person, clearly coming from inside the apartment cries out, “He’s been shot in the head! Oh my god, he’s been shot!” The camera captures a moaning sound, which seems to come from the young man on the ground. Someone asks, “Were you filming?”

 

Syria has banned journalists from entering the country, therefore making it difficult to verify information pertaining to this video. However, several of our Observers in Homs have confirmed that these images were filmed in Homs’ Karm al-Sham neighbourhood on July 1, as Syrian security forces reportedly carried out a raid. One of our Observers was able to pinpoint the location of the incident on al-Shahbandar street in the Karm al-Sham neighbourhood. The young man's condition following the incident remains unclear at this time.

 

The neighbourhood where the video was shot, according to our Observer who lives in the area.

“This area is particularly sensitive because it’s next a statue of Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad”.

Ali L., 41, (identity held for security reasons), is one of our Observers in Homs.

 

Karm al-Sham is in a predominately Sunni neighbourhood in Homs [the majority of Syria’s population is Sunni Muslim], and is close to al-Nouzha, which is an Alawite neighbourhood [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is Alawi Muslim, a branch of the minority Shiite Islam]. Recently, Syrian security forces and Shabiha militia have been raiding Karm al-Sham at least twice times a week. When they come, residents generally throw rocks at them and then run to hide. They shoot at people in the neighbourhood as though they were hunting rabbits.

 

This area is particularly sensitive because it’s next to a statue of Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad. The statue, which is sacred by the Alawite community, lies on the border between the al-Nouzha and Karm al-Sham neighbourhoods, where the young man shooting the video was. The authorities are convinced that residents want to destroy the statue, and so they are doing everything within their power to prevent protesters from getting close to it.

 

One of the people I work with lives close to the building where the young man was killed. According to him the victim was about 19 years old [he has yet to be identified]. Of course it was crazy to film what was happening at that precise moment, but for me, this young man is a hero. Youth today are much more engaged [in activism] than we ever were”.

 

A close-up of the neighbourhood where the video was filmed, according to our Observer who lives in the area.

 

FRANCE 24’s Observers team is continuing to investigate the authenticity of these images, as several internet users have questioned the video’s credibility. If you have any further information related to the footage, please contact: observers@france24.com.

 

Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Ségolène Malterre.