REPORTING FROM BEIRUT -- Syrian opposition activists say shrapnel wounds killed an intrepid citizen journalist who documented a neighborhood under siege in the tempestuous city of Homs.
“He was killed because he conveyed the real picture of Baba Amr. He was killed because he was showing the truth,” a doctor says with tears in his eyes in a video uploaded to YouTube.
Rami Ahmad Sayed was known on YouTube as syriapioneer. His YouTube channel, which includes 831 videos purporting to show violence and destruction in Syria, has more than 2,700 subscribers. The horrific images include bodies and injured children.
The last video is of Sayed himself, his body lying in the hospital. A family friend told The Times that the last video was uploaded by his brother. Opposition activists say Baba Amr is being subjected to some of the heaviest shelling since the assault on the area started weeks ago.
Fellow activists forwarded a Skype message they said was his last, in which he pleads, “I don’t want to hear, ‘our hearts are with you.’ … We want all people in front of all embassies all over the world, after a few hours there will be NO place called Baba Amr and I expect this will be my last message, and no one will forgive you.”
For nearly a year, Syria has been in the throes of an uprising against President Bashar Assad. The United Nations recently condemned “widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities." The Syrian government denies attacking civilians and argues that it is defending itself from armed terrorists.
Syria has restricted access to battle zones, making it difficult for many traditional media outlets to report on what is happening in the bloodied region. Activists have used YouTube to tell their stories and show disturbing images of the violence, adding to the public pressure on Syria.
-- Rima Marrouch