‘NOTHING IS SACRED’: Homs-based activist Bebers al-Talawi, formerly a pastry chef, takes viewers on a tour of a historic black stone church on al-Hamidiyah Street in Homs city as sniper gunfire crackles in the background. “All the citizens who were inside the church have left to save their lives,” al-Talawim says.
“They’ve used tunnels under ruins to escape the bombings.” Al-Hamadayia is a contested area, with ongoing battles street by street. The civilian population has abandoned this area, which was bombed repeatedly Tuesday night.
The church has 2 gates; one overlooks the old city’s square, known as the Clock Square, which leads to the the old market. The other leads to Bustan a-Diwan, a Christian neighborhood.
“Historic palaces, churches, holy places and mosques; nothing is immune from destruction,” al-Talawi says.
The church complex contains a school and residence for nuns, in addition to a large hall for baptisms and other celebrations. It is located next to Baath Party headquarters, which used to bomb the church regularly because citizens of all sects fled the bombardment and taken shelter in it. After the shabiha were driven from the Baath building, they fled to a nearby police station and continued to bomb the church, so the displaced people in it had to flee. Video courtesy of Bebars al-Talawim.