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Ottavia Massimo © all rights reserved


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March 2012 – SYRIA (5 photos, 1 video) English

                                                                     

First page on  “RADIKAL” – Turkey                                    http://www.radikal.com.turkey

IDLIB – SYRIA

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The city is sorrounded by tanks. The hospital is under the control of snipers belonging to the regime. From sunset onwards, they fire randomly at anything that moves. The old part of the city is protected by the Free Syrian Army. Since three days, lines of tanks, soldiers and militias, are coming to prepare the attack.

Quarter of Dabbit. We have just arrived to Ahmed’s father house. There is no light and it is impossible to communicate. The atmosphere is a bit calmer. Since 5 am, after about 12 shellings, tanks fire less frequently. Is 1 pm. Now only a few shots of the aircraft 14.5 and bursts of kalashnikov. This morning a shot of tank hit the entrance of a house that almost exploded in my face. Two wounds. One under the chin, the other one on the stomach. I was running to that house from which were coming cries of people trapped in the building. The guy in front of me had blood on his face and multiple wounds on his legs. No news yet from my two friends that were driving the car and filming. No news from the trapped family, but we couldn’t reach the house thow. The explosion took place in an open area. At least five people were injured. A helicopter was flying above us. The second explosion occurred just as we were about to reach the entrance of the house. The operation seemd to be very well coordinated. The group of people around the house, was not armed. The target of the bombardment seemd random. Attacks were unleashed on groups of people gathered in the street to escape the explosions. Since three days, lines of tanks were coming from Aleppo, but people did not expect that the regime would attack this morning. They thought they had two or three days more to organize themselves. Ahmed’s father is sick. He and his family, will not even try to leave the city. Women wander like ghosts, through a private room and the kitchen. They don’t come to our room. Being a women, i can go to them. Every time i go into the kitchen, they look at me with pleading expression and eyes swollen with tears. I try to calm them down, smiling, hugging them. I tell them that everything will be fine. That this is the revolution for freedom, that Syria will soon be free. That there is nothing to worry because God is with us. But when explosions get closer, when the blast is too strong not to be heard, voice breaks in my throat. I feel my eyes widen in flicks of terror. I look at these three women with their two sons, four and six years old. Words of comfort do not come out and i try to turn thoughts into reassuring smiles. I can only say: God is great. They look at me as if i could save them..

At 4 pm, the district of Dabbit, was conquered by the military government. At 5 pm, twenty-four death were recorded. The next morning, forty-five corpses of men, women and children, including twenty-three with their hands tied behind their backs, were found in the suburban area northeast of the city. Among those twenty-three, five were revolutionary army deserters. The same day, in the afternoon, the hospital of the medina was bombed. That hospital was the only refuge of distress, out of the control of the regime.

Theoretically, war is a fight between two or more parties, more or less strong but all with tools to define a given fight: war.

Bashar al Assad’s regime, is using spies, snipers, tanks, anti-aircraft, helicopters. Indiscriminately and continously.

Against civilians and the FSA, the Free Syrian Army. A group of opponents declared officially on July 29th 2011. People belonging to the army of the government, that in Daraa, during the first event in which rhe regime opened fire on the crowd, they refused to fire. During the revolt, extended to all Syria, the inhabitants of towns and villages across the country, gradually joined the FSA. Since one year, the military forces belonging to the government, control regions by retaining the key countries. In cities where the opposition form a majority considered dangerous, armed forces bombard civilian homes, without following any logic or specific target. Killing, torturing, spreading terror. The few people i saw that were armed between revolutionaries, have old rifles, often for hunting. Somebody have some sophisticated instrument, took from a distracted sniper, but with very little ammunition. These weapons are used to protect areas where families come together; allow old people, women and children to escape between one bombardament and the other one; face attacks on journalists. The government is denying access to humanitarian organizations, since a year. Hosplitals are not equipped. Lack of personnel, equipment, medicines, blood, food. Border areas are mined and people confined to their areas of origin. 17 000 refugees only in Turkey, but the control of the land border is tightened and the military regime also act in foreign country. Entering Syria is difficoult. Get out alive, pure luck.

The forces used by the regime of Bashar al Assad, tells about an impressive degree of disproportion. The blood that syrian people see every day, belongs to citizens deliberately kept ignorant of the world’s leaders strategic affairs. In cities where the majority is in favor of the government, the national television network “NTV”, tells of a country which is generally stable, just plagued by sporadic terrorist attacks. In areas where the regime controls and terrorize the population, there is water and electricity, only a few hours a day. People are afraid to keep the light on because snipers use precision instruments and shoot inside the house. Television does not work and in countries where the siege is tightened, there is no access to the internet or any other means of communication.

Civilians do not realize the complexity of the situation internationally. They only ask that someone intervenes to end the horror they are living. The revolutionaries of the Free Syrian Army, ideologically reject any outside help, in terms of armed groups. After a year of violent and indiscriminate repression, strong by a majority of 85% of the population against the Assad’s regime, they just ask one thing: weapons and ammunition. They will not surrender. Because the blood of injustice is the grief of an anger that turns into revenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Ottavia Massimo

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