The Syrian regime promised the UN/AL envoy Kofi Annan to execute his plan and ceasefire starting April 12th at 6 AM.
I woke up to see if the regime will do what they promised, and I must say that I didn’t hear a single gunshot all morning. I know this regime too well, and I know they might break their promise at any point, but I took an oath to write what I witness and not lie about it, and in this case, the regime did what they promised. The soldiers, security forces members, and vehicles are still everywhere, but there’s no shelling or shooting anywhere.
I received calls telling me about hearing gunshots in far away areas in Homs but no one knew if anybody was hurt or where exactly the shooting took place, but that doesn’t mean the regime broke their promise yet. I shall wait and see how things will turn out, hoping for a major demonstration tomorrow even if I can’t join it since I still am suffering from my back injury and can hardly leave the bed on my own.
Some areas in Syria aren’t as quiet, and people are still getting killed. Ceasefire wasn’t executed completely in many places, but that didn’t stop some families to go back to their houses to check them out after the shelling stopped in their neighborhoods like in Jorat Al Shayyah which has been targeted for weeks before today.
I heard a couple of gunshots at night near my street but that was over very quickly, and I heard people talking about some tanks firing in other areas but I didn’t hear any sounds and no one I trust confirmed the news to me.
April 13th, another quiet morning, only a couple of gunshots were heard in my neighborhood but no one was hurt. Unlike the past few Fridays, security forces didn’t attack the area and didn’t occupy the streets, and there were no shelling at all, and that helped the people to go in demonstrations. I saw four demos after the prayer, and that sure brought back memories.
I couldn’t join any demo because as I said earlier, I still can hardly walk on my own because of my back injury. I went out to the balcony and saw the demos with a big smile on my face.
Not shooting at people will cause huge demonstrations all over Syria, and that’s what the regime doesn’t want, and that’s why Security Forces attacked demos since March 15th 2011 and caused the mess we’ve been living in for more than a year. I want things to be different now, but I’m not optimistic because I know this regime well. They won’t allow peaceful demonstrations no matter what. They will attack and kill more to prevent us from saying what we want. The only difference now is that the Security Council will be watching closely, even though it was crippled many times by the Russian and Chinese VETOs before.
4:30 PM, rapid shooting could be heard clearly everywhere in the city.
6 PM, shelling is back to many areas in Homs including Qusoor, Jorat Al Shayyah, and Karabis.
7 PM, shelling sounds are getting louder and shooting got much closer to my neighborhood.
9 PM, the shelling sounds are fading away but I can still hear shooting.
The rest of the night was quiet, but the plan to ceasefire didn’t go well. Shooting in the first day and heavy shelling and shooting in the second.
April 14th, the quiet mornings are over, and the horrible shelling sounds and smoke clouds are back at the same rate like Annan and his ceasefire plan didn’t even exist.
The same view I saw back in April 3rd and 4th. Buildings being hit by missiles and getting destroyed in two different areas.
I knew this was coming, yet I couldn’t help but to feel overwhelmed.
Shelling continued until 8 PM, and my area was dead quiet after that, with the exception of a couple of gunshots every few hours.
April 15th, shelling started earlier than the past two days and kept going till 4 PM. Khaldieh was targeted viciously, along with Qusoor and Karabis.
I went to Waar for a couple of hours and was stopped by two security barriers where they checked my ID. I was able to check my email and send some tweets while I was there, and of course I heard the missiles being launched from Waar towards Khaldieh like I did many times before.
Back in Ghouta cellphones are still not working, and the sounds of shelling and shooting was all over the neighborhood. Many were buying food when I came back home.
The night was about the same as the previous night. Shelling stopped around 10 PM and the rest of it was quiet.
April 16th, Shelling and shooting started early in the morning and kept going until around 6 PM. 55 were killed in Syria today. I keep wondering if I misunderstood the term “ceasefire”. Nothing has been ceased in Syria yet.
April 17th, today marks the first year anniversary of a big massacre in Homs, and the regime repeats the same thing today. More than 55 were killed in the shelling in Syria today. Ceasefire is still out of sight.
April 18th, the day of the first and greatest sit-in in Homs. I was there last year and witnessed how things turned out. The memory of the most noticeable day in the modern history of my city will remain with me forever. I spent the day in Waar after we left Ghouta in the morning while unbelievable shelling was in progress. The regime increased the daily dose of shelling on Homs in this day in purpose to kill people’s hope on going back to Freedom Square. Yet we all know that we will return there someday soon.
The night in Waar was quiet but the rest of the city wasn’t.
April 19th, Waar area is quiet and filled with people. Internet is working but the cellphones networks got disabled in the morning. So now the entire city has no cellphone coverage and most of it has no internet. But we’re all used to it as it’s been almost 3 months.
I went to Ghouta in the afternoon and I started hearing the shelling sounds half way there. They didn’t stop all day and night. Waar is still a somewhat safe area where people can find shelter and supplies.
I went to bed early as I couldn’t sleep the two previous nights.
April 20th started with heavy shelling and I saw black smoke mushrooms in many areas. Smoke clouds were all over Qusoor and Karabis.
April 22nd – 29th, as two of the UN observers stayed in Homs, the city remained calm. No heavy shelling, but some explosions could be heard sometimes. Shooting was minimal as well, but civilians kept on getting killed. Other cities like Hama and Duma took some big hits as Homs was resting.
I am waiting for the rest of the UN observers to arrive in hope of starting going out in huge demos without getting attacked by security forces.
On April 30th, the leader of the UN observers arrived in Damascus, and that night shelling in Homs was back to the amount we used to have before the observers arrived in the city. The shelling and shooting didn’t stop all night. So now I am wondering if they have achieved anything. The killing didn’t stop not one day, and the shelling wasn’t gone more than a week. And now we’re back in the vicious circle of violence once more.
April was over and we’ve seen a couple of calm days in it, but as May came everything went back to how it was before the UN observers arrive to Homs. The numbers of casualties started to increase every day.
May 9th 2012 was the night when things went back completely. Unbelievable shelling sounds coming from 3 or 4 different areas in Homs. I counted 36 explosions in 20 minutes that night.
May 10th, I woke up to a very scary sound coming from my balcony, and people in the streets told me not to worry as they’ve heard such noise before. A sniper’s bullet hit my AC causing the release of its gas and oil quickly which sounded really loud and created a big steam like cloud for a few seconds. I had the AC fixed later for 80 dollars.
May 11th was a Friday, and I saw a demonstration in my neighborhood. It ended quickly as security forces weren’t far away and shelling didn’t stop.
May 15th, a small war happened in my street between security forces and the buildings’ walls. No FSA or any armed resistance was involved.
May 16th, the same shelling and shooting sounds made their way into our daily lives and we got used to them, and that made me feel really bad. I was starting to lose hope. I sat on my balcony with my earphones on when a sniper started shooting randomly in my area, I was sitting behind a wall so I was safe, but my mother was scared and she tried talking to me, but since I had my earphones on and was listening to music I didn’t hear her, so she freaked out and jumped towards me cause she thought I was hit or dead. We went inside after that and decided not to go out to the balcony for a while.
Days went by and they were all the same. Shooting and shelling every day. People getting killed every day and no one is doing a thing about it. Annan’s plan was officially dead for me.
May 25th, another Friday. The night was awful and the amount of shelling was unreal. It was a night that no one will forget anytime soon, until news started coming from Houla. A new massacre harvested more than 100 innocent lives including more than 30 kids and many women. Assad’s forces attacked that village with heavy artillery for 12 hours then his things went in and slaughtered entire families.
The world reacted poorly by condemning the massacre and some countries expelled the Syrian ambassadors in their capitals. What a weak response after 15 months of killing, and more than 15000 casualties.
May 28th, another unbelievable night of excessive shelling. I didn’t count the explosions as they were too many. 3-4 explosions could be heard in a row at times, and that kept going all night and into the morning.
May 30th, we woke up to find all types of internet connections disconnected like back in February, Dial up, ADSL, and 3G, with the exception of mobile phone’s slow and expensive GPRS. We also had no fresh water that day, and of course shelling and shooting didn’t stop. It’s like we’re back in early March with the exception of snow storms.
The lack of internet connections lasted 4 days, while we got fresh water after only 2.
June started but it felt exactly like May, or March, or February. Every day is exactly the same.
June 6th, news about a new massacre, this time in a village near Hama with more than 100 casualties including children and women. Seems like this is the new regime’s strategy.
The UN observers weren’t allowed to enter that village until Friday. I will leave you the space to figure out why the regime didn’t let them in yourself, knowing that they denied the massacre and said that armed gangs killed about 9 civilians there, not a hundred or so.
June 8th, I woke up that Friday at 7 AM because of the horrible sounds of four rockets that hit my neighborhood. We had to leave our bedrooms since we felt like the rockets were hitting our building directly. Around 1 PM, another wave of nearby shelling and shooting but it wasn’t as close as the early morning one so we barely reacted.
June 9th, the day started with heavy nearby shelling, and for the first time a shred of what seems to be a mortar shell hit my balcony. It’s about 10 centimeters long.
Around 10 AM, more mortar shells started falling around my street and huge columns of black smoke coming out from the targeted buildings made my neighborhood look like a war zone.
11 PM, news about public guard forces occupying buildings in Kurnish street and spreading in many areas in Ghouta and Hamra, and that’s when people started leaving their houses in panic and heading to Waar.
We received many calls and found out that most of the people we know in Ghouta and Hamra have left or at least tried. Security forces barriers didn’t allow some families to leave the area, then news came that they won’t let anyone leave no matter what.
June 10th, the streets of my neighborhood were empty unlike the previous days. No shops opened and no one can be seen. The terrorism of the day before was too much to handle with more than 100 deaths.
No internet and no electricity.
Nearby heavy shelling and the sounds of machine guns were all over my area and many other places. Rumors started spreading as some schools were being evacuated by the Red Crescent and the refugees were taken to other places. The fear left my neighborhood almost empty including my building. My family and I had a tense talk and we decided to stay.
A couple of mortar shells feel around my street once again but no shreds came our way today, and they caused serious damage in buildings and some people I know were injured. Snipers are active and one of my mother’s friends was killed by one while she was taking her daughter to her exams center.
Electricity came back and was gone again, and then it came back once more. Still no internet, not even GPRS since yesterday.
June 12th, security forces filled my neighborhood, arrested some people and put cement barriers in all the exits around my area. We’re now trapped inside and they’re doing whatever they want.
Later that night the main street of Ghouta was filled with security forces vehicles and armored vehicles. The soldiers walked around shooting randomly for a couple of hours.
June 13th, many families left the neighborhood after a morning of heavy shelling and shooting all around us. Smoke clouds were all over the sky, and buildings were shaking badly whenever a missile hits.
June 14th, this was one of those days that I can never forget. I faced death and wrote about it in “Life in Homs” so I won’t repeat the day here.
June 15th, tanks and security forces vehicles are all over my neighborhood. Shooting and shelling didn’t stop, and the area looks like a ghost town now.
June 16th: I saw a helicopter flying over Homs, and a little after that the UN observers announced the suspension of their mission due to the increase of violence in Syria.
I will end this chapter here, since my area, and the entire country is going through a new phase now. Hoping for the next chapter to be the final one in this sad series of events.