- Arab world - Bashar al-Assad - Syria
FRANCE 24 exclusive video: Syria’s sniper alleys
Reporting from the western Syrian city of Al-Qusayr near Homs, FRANCE 24’s reporters find a city terrorised by snipers in the second part of our exclusive coverage from inside Syria.
Residents of Al-Qusayr, a western Syrian city which is part of the Homs Province, gather – as they have every week for the past year – to demonstrate against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Clothed in white garments, a sign that they're ready to be martyrs, they take to the streets in this city that was briefly under rebel control.
But as Assad’s troops have been fighting back, regaining control of flashpoint areas such as the Baba Amro district of Homs, regular Syrian Army troops have regained control of three-quarters of Al-Qusayr and the ranks of demonstrators have been thinning.
Some of the more determined opposition leaders are now struggling to rally the city’s opposition. "Come out the streets,” calls out a man, his head wrapped in the traditional Arab keffiyeh. “Do it for God and only for God. Don't expect help from the Russians or the Chinese or even the Americans or the Arab nations."
The demonstration merges with a funeral procession of a man who was shot down by Assad’s snipers in the middle of the street.
These days, just crossing a road in Al-Qusayr is dangerous. On a broad boulevard that is now dubbed “sniper alley,” rebel fighters warn residents to run across a street, fearful of Assad’s snipers posted across the city.
"Are you ready?” asks a rebel Free Syrian Army fighter at the edge of an exposed road. Together they make the dash to the other side.
“Anyone who goes straight across the street encounters snipers,” explains a rebel fighter.
The regime's snipers may have managed to dampen the insurrection in Al-Qusayr, but there’s a new generation of revolutionaries. Little children gather in the city’s empty streets, bearing wooden sticks carved like rifles shout, “Listen, Assad! Freedom forever!”
Al-Qusayr’s children are not likely to forget the resistance put up by their parents. This is a country with wounds that are not about to heal anytime soon.