It's March 15th 2012. One year ago today was the star of the Syrian revolution.
The regime cancelled a holiday today so they can force workers and students to go out in a pro Assad march in a couple of cities.
They failed organizing one in Homs, Hama, Idleb, Daraa and other cities.
Demos went out in many areas in Homs and Assad's forces attacked many of them and left casualties.
I was very depressed all day and couldn't watch the news for more than five minutes because all news is bad news. All the world is doing is talk, and that helps no one.
All types of internet connection got disabled once again yesterday after ADSL and Dial Up worked for two days or less.
3G is still disabled since early February cellphones networks are still down as well.
March 16th, a peaceful demo started in my neighborhood and Assad's forces attacked it after 30 minutes. Exactly at 1:22 PM, I heard a sound of a bomb exploding and it caused my house to shake, and news came about an ex soldier who attacked one of two BTR vehicles with that bomb killing a security forces member and harming others, and the second BTR shot him dead and went crazy. They started attacking everything that moves and shooting at the houses. People started running because they weren't warned about the Assad forces coming since cellphones are still not working.
The attack continued for more than thirty minutes and I believe some protestors got hurt. Assad's security forces stayed for a while and kept on shooting randomly after the streets got empty.
I went out to the balcony and found eight new bullet holes in the walls, and the holes weren't close to each other, I collected the bullets and took some photos.
This proves the randomness of the shooting Assad's forces are doing. If someone was standing there when the shooting took place we could've lost them for no reason at all.
March 17th, I received confirmations that at least three civilians were killed in the shooting near my house the previous day, and one of them was a relative of mine.
I spent the day reading Bashar Assad's leaked emails and hating him and his family more and more. His wife and her family are as guilty as him. He's playing tennis, and his wife is spending loads of our stolen money on shoes while his forces are killing us.
News from Damascus about hearing shooting sounds in Arnoos square in the middle of Damascus. I called someone who lives there and they confirmed the news.
March 19th, the sounds of shelling are back since early morning. I went out and all the main streets and squares in Homs were completely empty. I found a couple of opened stores in two neighborhoods but the center of the city was all shut down and empty. It has been this way for weeks or even months.
I received a phone call from Mazzeh in Damascus and they confirmed the news about hearing explosions and shooting sounds all night last night in places I am very familiar with. They couldn't tell me exactly what happened but they could hear the sounds very clearly till this morning.
Around 5:30 PM, a security forces vehicle rushed into my street and started shooting randomly for a couple of seconds then moved on to another street where it did the same thing even though there was no demo or anything happening anywhere near this area.
March 20th, I didn't get any sleep for the sounds of shelling and shooting started right before I go to bed in the early morning hours and continued until noon. The explosion sounds came from at least three different areas.
I went out in the afternoon and most of the stores were closed and most of the streets were empty, but that's nothing new since we've been living like this since early February.
Shelling continues as we got a phone call from a relative who lives in Bayada saying that they had to evacuate their houses after Assad's forces announced that they don't guarantee the safety of those who stay in their houses.
Large groups of people took what they can and left their houses to Assad's destruction machine. This happened before in Inshaat in February, but the difference is that Bayada is a poor neighborhood unlike Inshaat, so the purpose of evacuating the houses isn't stealing goods but the destruction of the anti Assad demonstration base in there.
Around seven O'clock later that night we lost electricity, knowing that water was lost a few hours before that, and the loss of electricity lasted all night and until noon of the next day.
The rest of the night was quiet but we all had a fear in our hearts that the electricity and water will not be available for days like we experienced earlier this month.
March 21st, it's Mother's Day in Syria today, but all the good presents are taken as many mothers lost their sons or their babies in the past year, many mothers lost their homes, and all is left is sadness. What will I give my mother on this day? I find it hard to even say "Happy Mother's Day" since there is nothing happy about it anymore.
Water and electricity are back around noon as I said earlier and that sure brightened our day, I can take a shower and watch the news. Oh the joy.
March 22nd, my cellphone is getting a signal, I tried to make an international call but got disconnected. A couple of minutes later I get a call on it and a couple of texts, then I tried to check my email via GPRS and it worked. I read a couple of emails and checked my twitter after about 45 days of being offline. My 3G number is still not working, and since I didn't have much credit on my regular phone I couldn't stay online for long. Hoping for this "No Internet No Cellphones" phase to be finished soon and never come back.
People in many areas in Homs are leaving their homes after Assad Forces tell them to, and that what made a neighborhood like mine get filled with people, many families are living in each house, and even the public schools are inhabited now. Families are living in classrooms in such bad weather.
This has been going for way too long. More than a year and things are still getting worse. There seems to be a sniper located in one of the buildings in Ghouta and people are scared of crossing the streets in one of the safest areas in Homs. No area is safe anymore.
I tried to check my email before I went to bed but cellphones were disconnected again, and I wasn't surprised by that.
March 23rd, sounds of violent shelling are coming from Khaldieh and other areas in Homs since the early morning.
My neighborhood is quiet. Shooting sounds could be heard every now and then but nothing serious is going on in here today unlike last Friday.
The streets are empty and all stores are closed, there was no demonstration or anything since Assad forces were roaming the streets every few minutes.
March 24th, I woke up at 5:30 in the morning because of the horrible sounds outside.
Shelling and bombing not far away from my house kept going for hours and increased between 6 and 7 AM. The old city is taking most of the shelling today and Khaldieh comes in second.
I received a phone call from Inshaat and they told me that they can hear mass shooting from Baba Amr but no explosions.
A group of Assad's security forces accompanied with a vehicle attacked places in Ghouta between 6:30 and 7:00 PM for no reason. They came, did some random shooting and then left. All streets were completely empty a while before they came. This has become a usual thing in here, and sometimes people get hurt by the random shooting while they're at their balconies or near a window.
March 25th, last year today I joined my first demonstration, filmed my first video, and took my first beating. I cannot believe it has been a year already. I still recall what happened like it was yesterday. Assad's forces made sure I don't forget this day as they started shooting in my street exactly at 2:10 AM, and they kept going till 5 when they changed things and started a missile attack around my area. I could hear the missiles being launched and hitting their target which isn't far away from my house since my house was shaking badly every time. I stayed in bed even though I couldn't sleep, and so did my family. There is nothing we can do even if a missile hits our house so we'd better act like there's nothing going on.
We don't panic anymore, we don't even talk about it. The shelling continued and got more aggressive between 6:30 and 7 AM, and the sounds of mass shooting could be heard after every two or three missiles. I don't know what kind of artillery they're using and it doesn't really matter since the damage is happening anyway.
I'm not certain of the targets they're hitting, and I don't think even the ones launching the missiles know more than I do. It all looks so random to me; the targets, the timing, everything.
Things started slowing down after 9 AM, and there was no mention of what happened in my area on any news channel but that isn't strange since most of what happens in here never gets mentioned anyway. That is a small example of how things in Syria are much worse than anybody sees on TV. Even the best news channels can't cover half of what's really going on.
I went out around 1 PM and people told me stories about the new sniper in the area. They told me about two guys who have been shot yesterday and they showed me some cars that have been targeted.
I went as close as I could without being spotted by the sniper and saw a car coming my way, and that's when he opened fire on the car. Broken glass shattered but the driver wasn't hit and he stepped in it and saved himself but the sniper kept shooting for a couple of seconds. Few minutes later, he opened fire again but this time I didn't see who he was targeting as he can see more than one street from the building he's occupying.
All the main streets were all empty and stores were closed like always. I found some opened stores in narrow streets and bought some food, which has become really expensive. For example: A kilo of sugar is worth 90 pounds while it was 65 a month ago.
Some security forces have been walking the streets of my area and shooting randomly every 30 minutes or so, that is both new and very dangerous. I heard at least five death announcements today, all were young men and all were martyrs.
Death has become a part of our everyday life.
March 27th, my phone is working and MTN sent me a text message asking for money even though they have disabled all communications in my city for about 50 days. I got the chance to check my email and twitter that day.
Bashar Assad was visiting Baba Amr, and I believed that this was the reason we have a working internet connection and cellphones network. The day was quiet but some shooting could be heard from many areas at times, and two families were killed in Baba Amr after Assad left since they refused to go out and cheer for him, news said.
March 28th, I woke up at 7 AM and left the house at 7:30. I found a taxi cab and asked him to take me to the bus station where I can take a bus to Damascus.
The reason why I was heading to Damascus is to withdraw some money since banks have been closed since early February and ATM machines are all empty and we have no money left. The taxi driver asked for 400 Syrian pounds as he was going to take me through a long way since the usual way is filled with snipers and is unsafe to use for months. I agreed and he started driving. The first security check point stopped us while we were heading to Al Waar area (New Homs) and they checked our IDs, then a second point, then a third point which had a tank in it and it was close to the military hospital, and a fourth and last check point near the station. I then took a bus and off I went to Damascus.
I haven't left Homs since September of 2011, so I was looking forward for this trip, especially since we had no decent internet connection working in Homs and I had things to send and publish. On my way to Damascus I saw nine military vehicles; one of them was a truck with a huge machine gun in its back. I never saw such a gun before and I have no idea what it's called.
The road to Damascus is filled with Bashar Assad pictures, quotes and some security barriers. The city itself was filled with security and military members everywhere. I went to Kafarsuseh, Mazzeh, Arnoos, and many other areas to see how things are over there, and everything was quiet. The streets weren't as crowded as they used to be and some of them had barriers and check points.
I withdrew some money, went online for an hour or so, had a cup of coffee and headed back to Homs. Before I arrive to the city of Homs, my phone lost connection and that's when I knew that cellphones networks were down again, but I was expecting this since Assad left the city.
I was dizzy and sick from the trip since the buses were horrible so I went to bed hearing the sounds of shooting and shelling that I haven't missed at all.
March 29th, I woke up to the same sounds I was hearing as I went to bed last night, and when I got up I found out that the electricity was off. I went out and bought some food and supplies since I got money now, and went back home.
The electricity was back so I decided to write a piece on Steve Jobs, one of the most famous people my city gave the world. Later that night I saw a relative of mine on one of the famous news channels talking about the Syrian situation and what he said was great. I was glad to finally see someone from my family saying what he wants out loud and using his real name. Hoping someday I could do the same without the fear of getting tortured or killed.
March 30th, like every Friday, security forces started the shelling and shooting before the prayer and occupied some place which made it very hard for us to go out in a demonstration since it would be attacked within moments of its start. Assad's forces did come and open fire anyway but since there was no demonstration, no one was hurt in my area.
News about more people getting killed by snipers all over the city kept coming, and most of their bodies couldn't be moved since snipers target anyone trying to get close. Some corpses spent four days in some areas and I knew one of them. The parents of the man I knew made calls and talked to many of those in charge to be allowed to get their son's dead body of the street, but no one could help.
Some streets have been taken hostage by Pro Assad snipers and some areas were turned into death traps.
At night I got a call from a friend who used to live in Inshaat telling me that the land line phone in their home have been taken by the military when they occupied the house back in February and that they won't give it back. I bet that the phone company will still collect the bill from my friend's family anyway. I also got confirmations about security forces raiding houses in Al Waar area, arresting people and searching for weapons and FSA members.
March 31st, the last day of this month was similar to any day of the past two weeks. No cellphones, no internet, shelling, shooting, and house raiding. More people are leaving the city every day in an attempt to survive. Water and electricity come and go. The world is still watching us suffer and no one is ready to do anything about it but talk. How can a man keep his faith in such dark times? How can I remain optimistic? How much more can we take?