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YouTube video shows Syrian boy, 10, slain in home by sniper

From Jim Clancy, CNN
December 10, 2011 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An agitated man describes the death of a boy in Homs
  • "What is the fault of this child?" he asks, speaking to a camera
  • The boy, 10, was allegedly at home when he was apparently struck by bullet
  • At least 17 died in Homs, activists say

(CNN) -- From a distance, he appears to be taking a nap. His long, delicate eyelashes are closed as his head rests on a blanket.

The 10-year-old boy, however, is not asleep.

The turn of his gauze-wrapped head reveals a mass of blood. Maher al-Husseini is dead, reportedly from a sniper bullet.

He bled to death.

In his own home.

"What is the fault of this child?" asks a man, whose voice rises in anger on a video posted Friday on YouTube. He kneels down and gestures to the boy, whose hands and ankles are tied.

"What did this child do that they hit him inside his house? This is unacceptable."

Friday was a day of protest, pain and sorrow in Homs, a center of demonstrations and death in Syria. At least 17 people were reported slain in the city, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an activist group.

Women, children and dissident soldiers were among those killed Friday in Syria, the group said.

The United Nations said last week that more than 4,000 people have died in Syria since a brutal government crackdown against protesters erupted in mid-March.

The unidentified narrator of the video starts the tour of the home upstairs, pointing to a bullet hole on a window frame, then blood on the chair beneath it.

He leads the cameraman down blood-spattered stairs to the body of Maher, lying in the family sitting room.

The boy wears a maroon sweatshirt featuring a comic character.

"We could not aid the child, we did not know where to take him because of the firing in the neighborhood," the agitated man said. "He kept bleeding for half an hour and we could not aid him."

The speaker blamed Maher's death on "thugs" who fired upon the home in the Mreiji neighborhood.

Another man sits in a chair, his head in his hands.

"We are not safe, this government is murderous," the narrator says. "It is killing people, it is killing its own people."

Near the end of the video, the man leans down and kisses the boy.

Watch the YouTube video. WARNING: Graphic content.

A longer version of the video shows a woman crying over the boy. Others can be heard in background wailing. The boy is wrapped in a white sheet and carried by men in street towards a cemetery. Some of the men chant "The martyrs blood will not be lost in vain," as the lifeless boy is carried.

As the men walk towards the cemetery gunfire can be heard.

They get to the cemetery and start digging as gunfire continues to ring out.

Another video posted on YouTube features another scene from Homs, a city wracked by eight months of violence.

Three shrouded bodies are being carried into a mosque to be laid out alongside Friday worshippers. One is of a boy identified as Nasser Mohammed, 12.

A chorus of voices rises as they are brought in. Some shout "Allahu Akbar!" (Allah is the greatest).

CNN could not independently confirm what was depicted in the videos. Western networks are not allowed inside the embattled country.

Out on the streets Friday, Syrian tanks rolled past the wreckage of past confrontations and gunfire echoed.

The street battles and demonstrations come as the United Nations and the Arab League continue to press the government of President Bashar al-Assad to allow monitors or observers on the ground. The regime continues to resist those calls -- as it maintains the conflict is with armed terrorists and its own security forces and supporters are the victims.

In a rare interview this week with a U.S. television network, al-Assad said he is not responsible for the crackdown.

The nation's military forces "are not my forces," al-Assad told ABC's Barbara Walters.

CNN's Jim Clancy reported from Beirut, Lebanon.

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