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Firsthand Report from Syria; The Republican Primary Race; Interview with Rick Santorum; Pacquiao vs. Mayweather?; Homs: A City Under Siege

Aired January 11, 2012 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: As the Republican presidential race heads for America's bible belt, why voters are increasingly putting their finances before their faith.

And how a Tweet may just have set up one of the world's most anticipated boxing showdowns.

That's all in the next hour here on CNN.

First up, a journalist invited to the epicenter of Syria's uprising loses his life just as the regime faces new accusations of war crimes from a former Arab League monitor.

A mortar strike in Homs killed franchise reporter Gilles Jacquier today. You don't see him in this video, but it does show the moment of the attack.

Jacquier and other journalists were covering a pro-government rally. It's unclear who fired the mortars. Well, an Arab League monitor who says he spent time in Homs has now quit the mission, calling it a farce. Anwar Malek told Al Jazeera that he witnessed a humanitarian disaster, saying the regime is guilty of torture and murder.

Meanwhile, President Bashir Assad made a rare public appearance in Damascus earlier, looking relaxed and confident, as he told cheering supporters that he'd soon defeat opponents of his regime.

Well, coming up, we're going to have a special half hour of exclusive reporting from Homs, showing you just what life is like in that war zone.

First, though, let's get an update on today's deadly mortar attack from CNN's Nic Robertson -- you are back in Damascus tonight, Nic, having spent the day in Homs.

What more can you tell us about what happened today?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Guilles and a handful of other journalists were on their way to cover a pro-government rally. We'd been on the same street less than an hour before. We'd seen Guilles and the other journalists less than 10 minutes before. Government minders had invited us to cover this pro-government rally in an area that they considered safe.

But it was an area, nevertheless, that was still just a few minutes ride from the front line. We had seen soldiers being bundled into an ambulance, wounded at that front line just less than an hour earlier.

So the -- the contentious front line between opposition and government forces very close to that area.

But as Guilles and the others approached the rally, a mortar landed on the roof of a building, so the journalists went up to cover it. And another mortar round landed. The journalists moved in with their cameras to cover that, to see what was happening. And then another mortar round landed. And that landed right among them, according to eyewitnesses. And Guilles was directly injured immediately. And that -- another journalist, a Dutch journalist, was also wounded. And Guilles -- Guilles' partner, a photographer who was traveling with him, was on the street at a time. She also appeared to be slightly injured and that she found her partner bundled into the back of a cabin. That's when she realized what was happening. And you can hear people on the video screaming at her to get in the car fast, get in the car fast.

Many civilians were injured, at least one other killed. They all rushed off to the hospital. But this street, just minutes before, had been bustling with people, Becky. We had been there standing around on it just -- just minutes before.

ANDERSON: Nic, I think it's fair to say at this point that we don't know who is responsible for these mortar attacks.

Has there been any response from the government?

ROBERTSON: Well, the government minders we were traveling with, who were the ones that invited us to go to this pro-government rally, we told them we had seen enough pro-government rallies and we'd like to go back to Damascus.

And they said, fine. On the way back, within 10 minutes of leaving, they got the phone calls of the attack. And the immediate reaction of these government minders was that clearly they said the opposition knew that we were going to cover a pro-government rally, that there would be international reporters there. And they immediately blamed the opposition for firing on that rally.

There was obviously no -- no hard evidence to back that up. It was very close to a front line, a no man's land between the -- between the front line.

Who knows who fired off those rockets?

But it was done in a way that the military uses mortars. It fires one and it gets it in an area and then it fires another and tries to land it close to it and then another and another. And that's why this was carried out.

So professional, but we'll never know who.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson on the ground for you in Damascus this evening.

Nic, thank you for that.

The longer this violence goes on, the greater the likelihood that Syria, of course, will descend into civil war.

Nic has seen for himself how polarized the country now is.

He shows us how supporters and opponents of the regime seem to live in two completely different realities.

Take a look at this.


ROBERTSON (voice-over) (voice-over): A body carried high. A sister uncontrollable with grief. This is an anti-government rally barely 15 minutes from Syria's capital. They've come to bury a 32-year-old man they say was killed by pro-government gunmen.

(on-camera) The level of anger and passion here is absolutely palpable. We're just a few miles from the center of Damascus. And the crowd here -- thank you. Thank you.

There's a crowd here of perhaps of several thousand people. They've taken over this whole area. They've put rocks in the road to prevent the police coming in here.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): It is a rare opportunity to meet the people who want to overthrow Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The situation is very bad. We are only want to be like you, like the Western people. We want to be freedom. We want to be free people. Look at him, 32 years old, only because he said Allahu Akbar.

Do you know Allahu Akbar?

ROBERTSON (on camera): Who killed him?

Who's responsible?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government is responsible. Bashar al-Assad is responsible. Bashar al-Assad is killing us only because we want to be like you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm afraid when I'm talking to you right now.


Because I'm going to lift this scarf and go into my home and I'm not 100 percent sure that I'm going to be safe. Because if not today, if not tomorrow, they will arrest me.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): The defiance possible, because two orange- jacketed Arab League monitors are here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are here, without them, you don't -- you will never going to see any protester.

ROBERTSON: Even so, protesters told us they didn't trust the Arab League mission.

(on-camera) The monitors tell us this is one of the most difficult and dangerous situation for them. The people are angry. The crowd is volatile. Everyone wants to talk to them. And the monitors say the most important thing that they can do at this time is be neutral, is take down all the information and show that they are completely impartial.

(voice-over) Everyone here has something to say. Many push forward to show injuries they say were inflicted by government forces.

(on-camera) They're absolutely desperate to show us the level of suffering. And they say they can't go to the hospitals, because if they do, the government hospitals, they fear being arrested. Some of the injuries we're seeing here seems to show signs that they're not being treated as well as they could be.

(voice-over) When the monitors leave, so do we. Within minutes, they are stopped.

(on-camera) We're barely half a mile from that anti-government rally. And here, there are pro-government supporters now blocking the road, a small group trying to show the monitors their support for Bashar al-Assad. This appears to be an impromptu demonstration, but it's surprising, because, clearly, they knew this was the way the monitors were going to come.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): And it's not the only pro-government rally in town, at least two others. Here a huge PA system blasts the president's message.


ROBERTSON: Government troops dancing with the crowds.

(on-camera) The most striking difference between this pro- government rally and the opposition rallies that we've seen, here, it's a celebration. It's a carnival atmosphere. At the opposition rallies, there is absolute real fear in people's eyes. They're terrified of their situation.


ROBERTSON (voice-over) Here, they say, they trust the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bashar al-Assad is a good man. If you want -- if you want to see, you can see. That's real here.

ROBERTSON: And they believe the government line that opposition is fabricated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not legal opposition.

ROBERTSON (on camera): What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This opposition is not legal.

ROBERTSON: It's not real?




ROBERTSON: How do you mean not legal or real?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that's -- (INAUDIBLE) it's a fake.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Few here will talk about the danger of Syria imploding into sectarian chaos. This American woman and her Syrian husband an exception.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president was forced to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it will be a chaos. It will be a big, big chaos. It's -- it's his -- it is the security here, the security forces.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he's a peaceful president. He likes to see all religions get along.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a peaceful man.

ROBERTSON: So, now, Assad remains in control, for the most part. But it's hard to imagine his supporters and opponents can be kept apart much longer.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Damascus, Syria.


ANDERSON: Pretty powerful reporting there, in a country that we rarely get access to.

We're not finished with Syria this evening. Still ahead tonight, exclusive footage from a journalist who managed to sneak into Homs without government minders. He was able to captured an uncensored look at everyday life in a city under siege. That special report is here on CNN in 20 minutes time.

For now, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Twelve minutes past nine.

Still to come, a clear win for Mitt Romney in the race to take on Barack Obama for the U.S. presidency. But his competitors are standing firm. A live report from the next battleground, coming up.


ANDERSON: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, the world's news leader.

Welcome back.

Republican candidates for president are heading south today, after the voters in New Hampshire handed a clear win to former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, on Tuesday.

Now, he came out on top in nearly every voter category, including people who think the most important issue is who can beat President Barack Obama in the general election.

In an interview with CNN this morning, Romney made clear that is his focus.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I really think we're best off focusing on the failures of this president. And in my case, I want to demonstrate that I have the capacity to make America, once again, a great place for opportunity, for rising incomes, for -- for job growth. I think that's what people want to hear.


ANDERSON: All right, so Congressman Ron Paul claimed second place after finishing third just a week ago in Iowa. He was the top choice of Independents. He also did better than the other candidates among the young and the poor. And today he even claimed, well, a win of sorts.


REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: Romney did have a victory. But we had something very, very special. We had a victory for something very important in this country. We had a a victory for the cause of liberty last night.


ANDERSON: All right, well, former U.S. ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, came in a disappointing third after skipping Iowa last week to focus on New Hampshire. He actually did best among the voters who say they are already satisfied with the Obama administration.

Well, despite the disappointing finish, he is, he says, still staying in the race.

Well, all of the candidates are now in South Carolina, which is the next state to hold a primary, in just 10 days time.

CNN's Jim Acosta is with frontrunner, Mitt Romney, in the city of Columbia and joins us now.

It's hardly settled on the -- on the runaway victory for Romney in New Hampshire, of course. They are now down in South Carolina.

What's the atmosphere like in the camp?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, if only the South Carolina primary could be tomorrow, Becky, that would be wonderful for the Romney campaign. Unfortunately, that's not the case. They're going to have a long, brutal 10 day stretch before the voters go to the polls in this state.

And -- but make no mistake, Mitt Romney has a lot of momentum coming out of New Hampshire. He won very big there, as you just mentioned a few moments ago.

His campaign also says that they've raised $24 million in just the fourth quarter of last year. So that is a lot of money and much more money than -- than these other campaigns are raising right now.

But in South Carolina, the -- the landscape is different. He's going to have to -- he's going to have to appeal to social conservatives down here. It's a very different electorate than the one he was facing up in New Hampshire. And -- and those voters down here, those socially conservative Evangelical Christian voters may flock to somebody like Rick Santorum, who finished fifth in South -- in New Hampshire, but finished a very close second in Iowa.

And I had a chance to catch up with the former Pennsylvania senator earlier today. And he said this fight for the GOP nomination is not over yet.



ACOSTA: Hey, Senator, the conventional wisdom today is that Mitt Romney has all but wrapped up the Republican nomination.


ACOSTA: How do you stop him?

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know what, this is a long process. Half the people who voted yesterday weren't even Republicans. So the idea that he's wrapped up the Republican nomination because he won by eight votes in Iowa and he won his home state is just silly.

ACOSTA: Are you going to challenge his record down here?

SANTORUM: We're going to challenge everything. It's not just going to be here, it's Florida and beyond.


ACOSTA: Now, Mitt Romney has been down here before running for president. You'll recall, back in 2008, he ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination, actually finished in fourth place down here, not a very good showing. And he was out of this race back in 2008 shortly after that.

But keep in mind, South Carolina, the reason why all of these candidates are going to be focusing all of their efforts -- almost all of their efforts on this state in the coming days is because this state has an excellent track record in picking the GOP nominate -- nominee. It has picked every GOP nominee, Becky, since 1980. It's a pretty darned good track record.

ANDERSON: And why it's so important.

All right, thank you for that, sir.

Let's give you a real sense, then, of why South Carolina is different from Iowa and New Hampshire. It's a state, as my colleague, Mr. Acosta there, said, with a lot of Evangelical voters, many with questions about Mitt Romney's Mormon religion.

Priorities, then, for the candidates are going to be shifting.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The road to the Republican nomination runs through here, South Carolina's congregations of Evangelical Christians. This is where, four years ago, Mitt Romney was buried in fourth place.

(on camera): Mormonism, is that the elephant in the room for Romney?

GREG SURRATT, PASTOR, SEACOAST CHURCH: Obviously, I think it's an issue, probably similar to Catholicism for John Kennedy 50 years ago.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Greg Surratt is pastor of one of the state's biggest mega churches. And among these born-again Christians, there are deeply held opinions about Romney's faith and the question, are Mormons Christians?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A show of hands for people who think they are not.

Is that going to affect how you view him as a candidate?

JERRY MCSWAIN, EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: We can't be one issue type of people. We have to broaden our viewpoint in some form or fashion. I do think, in terms of religious issues or spiritual issues, they go to the issue of character.

MATTINGLY (on camera): In this election, Evangelical voters here say that character and conviction matter more to them than a candidate's denomination. Surprisingly, social issues barely come into the conversation at all.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Small businesses. MATTINGLY: Does that mean the wallet has taken the place of the bible when it comes to voting?

SURRATT: You know, that's a pretty powerful stimulus, is the wallet. But I'm hoping, as a believer, and a leader of believers, that it's secondary.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Four years and a bad economy have these voters feeling vulnerable.

Ray and Cindy Ferrell pray to God for relief.

CINDY FERRELL, EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN: Without our faith, we would be toast.


MATTINGLY: Former real estate developers, the Ferrells lost their business, their salaries, their health insurance, their retirement. And the tears come easily.

R. FERRELL: Because it took away our livelihood. At one point, I thought I lost my dignity, you know, who I am. We couldn't do the things we used to do. It -- it was tough.

MATTINGLY: The Ferrells struggle daily with their losses and it drives their votes. Hard times leave little room for hard questions about a candidate's faith.

(on camera): Is that enough to affect your vote when you're looking at Romney?

C. FERRELL: No. Not for me.


C. FERRELL: First of all, I'm not looking at a president to be the leader of my church.

MATTINGLY: But the Ferrells and other Evangelicals are looking for someone who will help answer their prayers -- prayers for an economic recovery and a stronger future.


ANDERSON: So the election 2012, it's up and running. What a race it's going to be.

Coming up next, a cyber challenge -- why boxing star Floyd Mayweather is taking to Twitter in his quest for a fight.


ANDERSON: Well, You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.

Welcome back.

I'm Becky Anderson.

Boxing fans have been teased for years at the possibility of a Pacquiao and Mayweather title fight, but finally some real progress appears to have moved that fight closer to reality.

My colleague, Pedro Pinto, joining us -- joining us now -- what we do know at this point?

PEDRO PINTO, CNN "WORLD SPORT" ANCHOR: We know that Twitter is being used more and more by the top sports athletes on the planet to tell us what they're all thinking and what they want to do.

Today, we had Floyd Mayweather, Jr. saying on Twitter and challenging Manny Pacquiao to a fight in May.

May the 5th is when they want to fight. And Pacquiao's camp hasn't officially replied yet. But they said that they're up for getting in the ring as long as the date can be shifted a little bit.

Now, Becky, a year ago, they were really close to getting into the ring. As you mentioned, for years, boxing fans have been hoping and praying, wishing that these guys can finally get out there and swing some punches at each other.

But -- but there were some issues with -- surprise, surprise -- money and also some issues over random drug testing, which Floyd Mayweather's camp wanted Manny Pacquiao to do.

I'll tell you something, this is going to happen.

You know why?


PINTO: Ask me -- ask me.

ANDERSON: Go ahead.




Because both fighters can each make 25 million pounds...

ANDERSON: Are you kidding.

PINTO: -- just for showing up, OK?

ANDERSON: That's $40 million...

PINTO: That's for...

ANDERSON: -- just for showing up?

PINTO: Just for showing up.

ANDERSON: So what do you get if you win?

PINTO: Well, they get more of the -- of the overall purse and the -- the gate and of the sponsorship deals.


PINTO: So...


PINTO: -- everybody wins. So this fight, I think, it's going to happen sooner or later...

ANDERSON: We're looking forward to it...

PINTO: -- whether in May or not.

ANDERSON: -- in May or some time.

Very quickly...


ANDERSON: -- Man City playing Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final tonight?

PINTO: The first leg going on right now. Liverpool are leading in Manchester 1-0. Steven Gerrard with a penalty in the first half.

We'll have all the details coming up on "WORLD SPORT," as we will on your beloved Spurs, who can go to the top in the Premier League title with a win tonight against Everton.

ANDERSON: Can you believe it?

PINTO: Yes, believe it. It's going to -- it could happen.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

Pedro is back in just about an hour's time with "WORLD SPORT," as he said.

Coming up next, the world news headlines for you, followed by a CONNECT THE WORLD special, "Homs: A City Under Siege," a look at the brutal reality on the streets of Syria.


ANDERSON: At just before half past nine in London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

Let's get you a check of the world news headlines at this point.

French journalist Gilles Jacquier has become the first Western journalist to fall victim to the Syrian uprising. He and at least one other person were killed in a mortar attack today in Homs. Jacquier was covering a pro-government rally there.

Republican candidates for the US presidency have moved onto South Caroline today a day after former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary. South Caroline is the next state to vote ten days from now.

An Iranian nuclear scientists has been killed by a bomb in Tehran. It's the latest in a series of deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear experts. Iran blames Israel and the US. The US says it wasn't involved and an Israeli military spokesman says he doesn't know who is responsible.

German chancellor Angela Merkel praised Italy's quick efforts to cut government spending and enact reform. Italian prime minister Mario Monti says Europe doesn't have to worry about the crisis spreading. The two leaders urged European Union to do more to promote growth.

And a video has been posted on websites including TMZ and YouTube showing men dressed in US Marine Corps combat gear urinating on the apparently dead bodies of three men. It's not clear who shot or posted the video, who's in it, or where it was shot. A military spokesman says there is an investigation underway.

Those are the latest headlines this hour here on CNN. Now, a CONNECT THE WORLD special, "Homs: City Under Siege."


DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the ugly cold reality of Syria's revolution.


RIVERS: A daily exchange of sniper fire, the desperate run for cover, the mundane routines that somehow survive the violence.

This program will take you to the heart of the uprising, to the shattered city of Homs, a traditional bastion of opposition to the Assad family, to explore the mosaic of hardship, resistance and death which has splintered this country and its people.

This is the story of a journalist who dared to go undercover in Homs on the front line of Syria's uprising. He must remain anonymous for his own safety.

The journalist, whose voice you will hear, visited a neighborhood in the north of the city, called Khalediyah, which is under constant attack from Bashar al-Assad's army.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST (voice-over): The activists brought me to this building. It took me a while to appreciate what was happening.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: To understand where the snipers of the regime are and to see where I have to hide and where it's better to run.

Through this hole, the snipers of the Free Syrian Army have been trying for a couple of hours to shoot the snipers at the other part of the building a couple of hundred meters away.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: I couldn't stay the entire battle, because the activists asked me to leave in order to be safe. I figured out later, they did kill the sniper of the Assad army.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are here surrounded from all directions by snipers and security services. Every time there is a demonstration, they come and shoot at us, cut the power and water supplies. There is no coverage, no diesel.

We cover our faces because if we expose ourselves, they're going to arrest our families, abduct the girls and there will be an awful lot of suffering.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: I came to this junction and I realized that somebody wanted to cross the street with a huge bag of cigarettes. I could hear the snipers shooting. He wasn't able to cross the street.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There is a main road which we cannot cross because of the snipers. Anyone who crosses it, women, children, men, elderly, they will not be spared. Yesterday, even by car we wouldn't dare cross it.

Now I am stuck here, I can't cross over to go home, so I will have to sleep here. There are no places to sleep, where can I sleep? In order to eat, to drink, we need to go out in the street. Are we going to be imprisoned in our home with no electricity, no water, and no food?

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: These neighborhoods are totally depending on how much they can smuggle inside the city. There have been days people have been telling me where they did not have bread. So every time they're able to have a normal day, where the bakery is running well, they would go there and buy as much as possible.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There is a power cut. No water. We can't use the telephone. There is also a shortage of food. And to buy bread, you may have to queue up for three hours.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: One of the biggest problems right now is the winter. It's getting very cold, especially in Homs. Every night the temperatures are falling below freezing, and the people are not able to heat their houses because there is no oil. So they started to cut off the trees in order to have firewood to heat and to get a little bit warmer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is for heating. We have no gas, no electricity, and no diesel. And telephones are disconnected. So what can we do? We have to cut wood for the heating.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): These are your reforms Mr. Assad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We don't want Bashar, we don't want him. We're not eating, we're not drinking. There is no hope for our kids.

We don't have any diesel, we have no electricity. The children have no hope. We hardly have any bread to feed our children.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: It was very difficult to understand how people could survive here. Why not everybody's leaving? But I realized that not everybody has a safe haven. Not everybody knows somebody in the countryside where they can go with their entire family to be safer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The army is killing us. They keep kidnapping people and killing them. Snipers you find them wherever you go. Wherever you go, snipers are planted there.

I know some people, and I'm going to them. They gave us a house to stay in.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: My days in Khalediyah have been the most frightening for me in the entire trip.

RIVERS: For all the hardship, they remain defiant. For the people of Homs, it's too late to stop. Resistance is their only path now.

CROWD (singing, through translator): Homs will never bow down.




TEXT: Homs: City Under Siege

UNIDENTIFIED JOURANLIST (voice-over): I went into Syria for six days into the heart of the revolution and the uprising in the city of Homs.

At the beginning of my trip, I had this clear show of the strength of the Syrian army. A convoy of 45 tanks being transported by trucks towards the city.

RIVERS (voice-over): The journalist we're following traveled a few kilometers from the urban warfare of Khalediyah in Homs to the neighborhood of Baba Amr, one of the first areas to be liberated by the Free Syrian Army.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: When I first went into Baba Amr, I saw these two bodies laying on the street. The activists told me that the secret service kidnapped the two guys, tortured them, killed them, and threw them out on the street.

Apparently this was the way to frighten the neighborhood. People would not be able to get close to them nor pick them up to bring them to the cemetery because they would get shot.

They drove slowly, and I could see the destruction on the -- on the walls. You could see the garbage piling up. It's kind of a siege of a neighborhood. 50,000 people are living in this area, secured by the Free Syrian Army

IBRAHIM HARMOUSH, DEFECTED SOLDIER (through translator): We are here in order to protect this area. The Assad army is in this area, and it's about 25 to 30 meters away with their tanks and all their equipment. We protect this street or they kill everybody, both young and old.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: I asked the activists to bring me to the streets where the snipers are aiming basically on everything which is moving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In the halls of residence at the university, there are snipers, and there are other snipers in the towers in the tops of houses. There are about 50 snipers.

They shoot at civilians, at homes, in the streets, women, children. They don't spare anybody. Even cars passing by. Every day we have about four martyrs and 20 casualties.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: The activists would -- have been telling me, "Don't run. Don't make any move which is suspicious, just keep on walking." And I could literally feel the sniper aiming on my head and it was up to him if he was going to pull the trigger or not. I had to cross the same roads where others have been killed a couple of hours before.



UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: After the prayers, the people started to go straight to the demonstration.

CROWD (chanting, through translator): Death rather than humiliation, and we will humiliate al-Asaad! Death rather than humiliation, and we will humiliate al-Assad!

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: I've seen these kids, entire families coming to the demonstration singing songs against the regime.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: I didn't see any kind of fear, it was almost like a party. This was the clearest moment of liberty I've seen. People are able to sing songs they have never been able to sing before.

CROWD (singing, through translator): Freedom forever, despite you Assad!

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: I went to this rooftop to film people dancing in the demonstration and then, suddenly I realized that they have been chanting and cheering a guy standing there at the other rooftop in front of the street.

It turned out o be Abdul Razaq Tlas who is not only one of the first officers defecting from the Syrian army, it is the nephew of the former Defense Minister of the regime.

ABDUL RAZAQ TLAS (through translator): The Free Army is protecting the people and demonstrators as well as confronting the thug gangsters and security services.

CHILDREN (through translator): Abdul Razaq, may God protect him. Abdul Razaq, may God protect him.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: Everybody was -- the entire neighborhood came praying for him and cheering for him and his soldiers.

TLAS (through translator): The army's role is to protect the people and civilians in accordance with our oath. But the orders we were receiving were in violation of that. As a result of the actions and violations by the members of the security services and the army, I defected on the 2nd of June, 2011.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: The defected soldiers have been telling me, "Although we don't have a lot weapons, but our biggest weapon is our motivation."


TLAS (through translator): We are in contact with soldiers who are in the army. They tell us a no-fly zone is essential to prevent them from getting bombed if they defect.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: At night, they search everyone entering and leaving the area to stop government death squads, the so-called Shabia (ph), from getting in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The street you see over there is controlled by the secret service. They're known to kidnap our women and children. We try to prevent this. When strangers come here, we stop and search them.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURANLIST: The revolution started to create legends and heroes, and a lot of those heroes are the singers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing, through translator): Ben Ali flew from Tunisia. Ali Saleh is burned by fire. Mubarak is in court, and Moammar was killed by the revolutionaries.


CROWD (singing, through translator): You will soon be next Bashar! You will soon be next Bashar!

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: This is Mohammed . He is a poet, he is a singer of the demonstration.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: At this night demonstration, I could see women and children coming out to the street to express their opposition against the regime


CROWD (chanting, through translator): Traitor! Traitor! Traitor! The Syrian army is a traitor!

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: So, the demonstrations are now a daily part of their life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The longer the revolution lasts, the more energetic we become. I am 42 years old, and I feel like I'm 20. The longer it continues the more active we become.

God is with us, and we are reliant on him to get rid of the regime. We want freedom for our children before us, we are fighting for God, for our children, and lastly, for ourselves.

RIVERS: While these spirited demonstrations are going on, elsewhere in the city, the killings continue. People fearing, hoping, praying help will come soon.





TEXT: Homs: City Under Siege

RIVERS (voice-over): We've already seen the hardship and resistance on the streets of Homs in the neighborhoods of Khalediyah and Baba Amr, but just outside the city is the village of Dab Al Kabeer, where Bashar al- Assad's troops aren't deployed in great numbers but can still strike with deadly force.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST (voice-over): I asked the activists to take me to where the injured people would get treated by doctors who are risking their lives. When we got to the makeshift hospital, I realized it was a normal flat with an emergency room and with intensive care. They had a pharmacy and a laboratory

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This patient, who was injured by multiple shrapnel all over his body resulting from a nail bomb.

He also received a more severe and dangerous injury which broke his skull and caused a hemorrhage.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: Activists told me that anyone who is injured in this neighborhood are not able to go to a public hospital, because those hospitals are infiltrated by agents of the regime, and they would get either kidnapped or even killed inside the clinics

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In our home fridges, we keep what can help us to provide aid for those poor, injured people.

These are tetanus injections that we use, and these are some of the blood bags we use in transfusions for the wounded and injured.

These are different types we use, in addition to some other drugs that must be kept refrigerated, as well as our food and drink.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Long live Syrian, and down with Bashar al-Assad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If we do not survive it the fighting, and if we are not destined to survive it through martyrdom, arrest, torture, or harassment, our children will win, and they will pay tribute to us.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: A family member of an activist got killed, and we decided to go to his funeral

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Malik was driving his car together with his friends, he was stopped at a checkpoint in Bayada. Their identities were checked, they searched them and let them go. They waited for them to walk away, and then they killed them.

UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: Outside, the entire village was waiting for the family coming out with the coffin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): By God, we will hold anyone accountable who is oppressing us, all of them! We know the officers who are giving the orders. We know all of them!


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: This funeral procession became more and more a demonstration where they expressed outrage against the regime


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: Among all these mourners was Malik's distraught little brother.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: In many other urban neighborhoods as in Khalediyah, these kinds of large funeral processions are not possible. Activists feel it's part of the Assad regime's policy to deny dignity to the dead and their family members.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They shot her near the roundabout. Her brother was two streets away. About half an hour later he, together with the neighbors, started to cross over the roofs of the houses until they managed to get to her and they recovered her body.

About half an hour later, they brought her here to my home because right at that spot, we couldn't reach her, we couldn't have a funeral or bury her. We still cannot bury her.


UNIDENTIFIED JOURNALIST: The Assad troops would immediately shoot on these funeral procession. That's why just four people are going with the coffin to the cemetery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The martyr, Khaled el Boidani. He went to buy bread, and he was killed by a sniper from the Assad thugs.

He was asking for freedom, nothing more. He was just asking for freedom.

RIVERS: Each fresh grave tells story of another family plunged into grief. The UN estimates 5,000 have died in the uprising so far. How many more families will be bereft in Syria's growing cemeteries, mourning the innocent victims of the Assad regime?