Syrian dissident videos claim to show ongoing attacks
Syrian opposition activists claimed Wednesday that a protest in a Damascus suburb had come under fire while United Nations observers were driving through, another sign that the peace plan brokered by U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan was in peril even after monitors had been dispatched to the country.
In the video above, said to be taken in the suburb of Arbaeen, people sprint down a street frantically. During the chaotic scene, the cameraman says demonstrators have come under fire. The caption to the video, uploaded to YouTube, says it occurred "during the presence of international observers."
U.N. observers were in Arbaeen on Wednesday, Annan spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told the Associated Press, though it could not be independently confirmed whether protests had come under fire.
Opposition activists said the gunfire was part of a continuing pattern of shelling, raids and killings that they claimed killed at least 32 people Wednesday, including one child. Under the peace plan, shooting was supposed to stop as of last Thursday, with both rebels and the regime holding their fire.
Syrian state media also reported violence had continued, blaming the rebels for instigating attacks against the regime. Eight Syrian security officers were said to be killed Wednesday, six by an explosive device in the Idlib countryside. Two others were killed by a sniper and "armed terrorists," the Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
Dissidents recorded and spread amateur videos to back up their allegations that the violence had continued. Though the government often disputes such videos, they provide a window into events in the bloodied country. Here are four other glimpses of what reportedly happened Wednesday in Syria.
In the video below, purportedly from the city of Homs, the sounds of shelling and heavy gunfire can be heard as the cameraman says, "Where are you Annan? Homs is being shelled."
The next clip is said to have been filmed inside a demolished house in the town of Basr al-Harir in Deraa province. "Burning one of the houses by security forces and Shabiha," the cameraman says as he walks around inside the destroyed house. Shabiha are armed gangs loyal to Assad.
"And they hit it with artillery," he adds as the camera zooms in on gaping holes in the roof of the house. "These are the signs of the random shelling on Basr al-Harir."
The next video purportedly filmed in Homs on Wednesday shows clouds of white smoke billowing from what appears to be a residential area. "The neighborhoods of Khalidiyeh and Bayada ... the violent shelling on areas of Homs," the cameraman says.
The caption accompanying the clip below claims that it shows Syrian troops trying to hide a tank behind a tall iron wall in an area in the countryside of Damascus, though the footage itself is ambiguous:
-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut and Emily Alpert in Los Angeles