The View From The Center Of The Syrian Uprising
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
We heard Kelly mention the city of Homs. That's Syria's third largest city in the center of the uprising. It suffered the heaviest casualty since the rebellion began this spring. Human Rights Watch estimates that close to 600 people were killed by Syrian forces in Homs from April to August, and hundreds more have died since.
I'm joined now by a medical technician in Homs. He's part of an underground team trying to treat wounded protesters. He goes by the pseudonym Abo Rami out of security concerns. Welcome to the program.
ABO RAMI: Hi.
BLOCK: And can you tell us what you have seen in Homs this week?
RAMI: It's another bloody day here in Syria, especially in Al-Bajaa, the neighborhood, which has been stormed in the early morning by the security forces at Shabijav(ph). This area is under shelling for the five day in a row. Today, I have 15 (technical difficulty) names, 15 people that are killed under the shootings by the security forces.
BLOCK: Just describe, if you can - I know you've been basically trapped inside of the fighting. Can you describe anything that you've been able to see, maybe out your window, if you have one?
RAMI: I'm living inside the house where it's in the middle of many houses also. The (unintelligible) are gunnings we cannot hear, and we just hear by - for awhile, from time to time sounds of bombings, sound of shooting. We couldn't - we can't go anywhere outside and it's better I don't. And we - and I'm working with a medical group. We can't reach to these casualties because we are - everyone of us is targeted by these forces and by the snipers, which are (technical difficulty) spreading on the roofs of the buildings.
BLOCK: So what accounts for the change now? Are there very many more government forces and snipers in the city that are keeping you from getting out to do the medical work you're trying to do?
RAMI: Yes. We've - five days ago in Bab al Amro area, we created a small hospital to rescue these people, those injured. But five days ago, the security forces attacked us, and they destroy the hospital and its equipments and arrested about 50 people injured, 50 casualties, arrested them and also kidnapped about four doctors, friends of ours and took them to an unknown area.
BLOCK: Those doctors you mentioned who were kidnapped, has there been any word of them since?
RAMI: No. We didn't hear anything about them since five days ago until now, and we are very worried about them.
BLOCK: Abo Rami, do you have family there in Homs?
RAMI: Yes, I have family, yes. And I was out of my home three days ago. I can't go back to my home because it's surrounded there, the area where I live, surrounded by security forces. So I'm afraid to be arrested or to be killed, you know.
BLOCK: As far as you know, are your family members safe?
RAMI: Yes, they are safe. They are rested in their house. And I may check on them when I find the right way to go inside this area by hiding, by any necessary way. I will risk my life and go to my family, you know, my father and dad, and my brother, who saw everything.
BLOCK: Well, Abo Rami, thank you very much for talking with us today.
RAMI: Thank you for you.
BLOCK: Abo Rami, that's a pseudonym, is a medical technician in the Syrian city of Homs.
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