Conflict & Justice

Why some residents of the besieged Syrian city of Homs are staying put

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Credit:

Thaer Al Khalidiya / Reuters

Civilians stand along a street in Homs. Washington called on the Syrian government on Monday to allow aid convoys into Homs, where "people are starving", and said that all civilians must be allowed to leave the besieged area freely.

Images of the Syrian city of Homs show a post-apocalyptic landscape, where residents scavage for their daily bread through a maze of punctured roads and battle-scarred buildings.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

But a Homs resident, who gave his name as Abo Rami, has no interest in getting out. 

"I didn't go out in this uprising to give up in the end. We went out in our uprising for our dignity, for our right to speak, not to give up if there is no enough food," Rami says via Skype. "Sure it's a critical stage now, but I will not leave my principles at this time." 

Rami says he has little faith in the ongoing Syrian peace talks in Geneva. But he is looking to the delegates in Switzerland to agree to a way to get humanitarian aid to Homs, and to allow elderly people, infants and children to be evacuated.  

He says Homs residents are looking for guarantees that they will not be "harmed or arrested after getting out of beseiged areas." He's hoping United Nations and Red Cresent vehicles will be available for an evacuation. 

"If you ask a single child he will say the whole world is only watching, and didn't make anything for our childhood. Because the biggest countries, they have the ability, they have the power to end this conflict, but they don't care about the bloodshed on the ground now," Rami says. "Despite the whole world abandoning us, we will stay in our uprising until the end, and we will sacrifice in each single soul until we suceeded in the end." 

Abo Rami is a member of the United Media Office of Homs.

He says Homs is a shell of its former self. 

"There is no life," he says. "After 6 p.m. in the day, you will not be able to see any light on streets. There is no sound for walking on the ground. There is no sound for the daily living. We reach into a day that we call it 'The City of Ghosts.'"

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