STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
This next sentence is a little hard to believe, but it's believed to be true. In recent weeks, the conflict in Syria has been more violent than the worst days of the war in Iraq. The numbers can be mind numbing. Hundreds of thousands of refugees, tens of thousands dead. Periodically, NPR's Kelly McEvers stops to tell us about some of the individuals behind those numbers. Here's your latest story.
KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: When Syrians first started protesting in March of last year, Fadi Zeidan was there. He and his friends thought the Syrian uprising would be fast, like the ones in Tunisia and Egypt. Then, Fadi was detained and beaten three times. He managed to get released and keep up his activist work. He shot, assembled and uploaded videos of protests and, later, videos of battles fought by men who'd taken up arms to fight against government forces.
Fadi eventually left Syria. These days, he still disseminates videos from the inside.
FADI ZEIDAN: All the time we receive the videos from all the town and city and we work on it to send the video to the channels and the news agency.
MCEVERS: Every day, Fadi sits and watches dozens of gruesome videos. Like this one that came across his desk a few weeks ago.
(SOUNDBITE OF CRYING)
MCEVERS: It's a crude minute. A shaky camera shows the dead bodies of a dozen or so men on a black-and-white tile floor. A piece of paper with a number is attached to each body's chest. Other men mill around, peering at the faces of the dead, curious perhaps, trying to find a friend. One man wails in agony.
Fadi played the video a few times. But he didn't look too closely. Then, as always, he sent the link around. A few hours later, the phone rang.
ZEIDAN: At 5 o'clock, my mother called me.
MCEVERS: Fadi's mother is still in Syria.
ZEIDAN: She asked me first, Are you alone? I said no. Are you with your friend? I said, Yes, yeah, I'm with my friend.
MCEVERS: Good, she said, I'm sending you a link by Facebook. You must watch it.
(SOUNDBITE OF CRYING)
MCEVERS: It was the same video Fadi had seen earlier in the day. But this time he looked closer, he focused on the faces of the dead men.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Foreign language spoken)
MCEVERS: Fadi realized one of the dead men was his father. He had a bullet hole in his head.
What did you do when you realized that? I mean...
ZEIDAN: I mean, all the time we work on this media, of these videos. But when I seeing my father in this video, I'm freeze (unintelligible).
MCEVERS: You just froze? You froze?
Fadi's mother told him two days before his father had been detained by security forces. His body was later tossed in the street. Activists found him, shot the video, buried him and the other dead men, and sent word to Fadi's family. Residents in Fadi's area say his father is one of hundreds of people who've been executed in recent months. Fadi says the whole thing is still unreal. He says his family has decided to put off their mourning until their work is done.
ZEIDAN: No, I'm not afraid if I die. I'm not afraid. Because all of us is the same, really. All the people need freedom, and all the people work to take it.
MCEVERS: So for now, Fadi will keep sending out videos, sometimes going back to Syria to shoot the videos. And his father, Moheddin Zeidan, will remain another number. A 55-year-old man, a lawyer, killed in September 2012.
Kelly McEvers, NPR News, Beirut.
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