BARCA v. MAN-U: Old Homs has been under regime blockade for 530 days, but the neighborhood’s young men still turn out to support the “Blockade Championship.”
With the sounds of shelling in the background, two teams, one clad in jerseys from Barcelona and the other sporting Manchester United, played in a semi-final Monday for the chance to win the title of “Champions of the Blockaded” in the al-Hamidiyeh neighborhood.
“Go Homs, go red” chanted the fans, whose eyes remained on the cement pitch as shelling landed nearby.
Most of the young men are former athletes, some of whom now fight for the Free Syrian Army, prominent citizen journalist Babers al-Talawi told Syria Direct from inside blockaded Homs.
“We eat one meal a day,” said Talawi. “despite the blockade and the bombardment, there are still smiles on our faces.”
“We will not kneel, Homs, we will not leave,” reads graffiti on the walls of the schoolyard where the men are playing.
The same day as the match, the Syrian Arab Air Force barrel-bombed the Old Homs neighborhoods of al-Qusour, Jorat al-Shiyah and al-Qarabis, reported the Homs Free Congregation, an opposition-affiliated media center in the city. “Violent clashes took place between the FSA forces and the regime forces, during the regime’s attempt to break through the area,” the group said.