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Voices From Homs, A City Under Siege


There's a limited humanitarian effort already underway in Syria. The Red Cross is in the process of evacuating injured people from the embattled Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr. At least 27 people are reportedly receiving medical treatment after being driven out in ambulances yesterday. The evacuation comes after a week in which Baba Amr was pounded by some of the heaviest artillery attacks by the Syrian government.

One of the attacks on Wednesday hit a makeshift media center. Veteran war correspondent, Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed. Their deaths drew more attention to the situation in Homs, particularly after injured foreign reporters released videos asking to be evacuated, including Paul Conroy with London Sunday Times.

PAUL CONROY: I was wounded in a rocket attack yesterday, and three large wounds to my leg. And obviously, any assistance that can be given by government agencies will be welcome.

SIMON: Another reporter, Javier Espinoza, who was with Marie Colvin in Homs is trapped there and recently tweeted, quote, "We have seen this before in Bosnia, death after death. We report people say what a horror and we do nothing." With all the attention on the plight of foreign journalists, Syrian activists are questioning the value the international community places on Syrian life. One of those by the name of Abo Bakr spoke to NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED this week through translator.

ABO BAKR: (Through Translator) Syrian blood is so cheap. More than 10,000 men, women and children have been killed. These are massacres. Then for two people, an American and European, there are many statements from Europe. This man and woman are good friends of ours. I'm not talking badly about them, but just look how cheap the Syrian blood is for the international community in general and for the Arab community specifically.

SIMON: The sustained bombardment in Baba Amr this week brought out dozens of spontaneous demonstrations around Syria. One video posted on YouTube, apparently from a neighboring town of the besieged city shows hundreds of people chanting Baba Amr.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE CHANTING) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.