December 19, 2013
Snowstorm Alexa dealt another blow to the residents of Old Homs last week, blanketing the blockaded neighborhood with snow.
Bebars al-Telawi, one of the city’s most well-known citizen journalists who has stayed on in Homs to document its plight, chronicled the impact of the storm after more than 500 days of siege on the historic neighborhood, videotaping a snow-covered cemetery in what was once a public park and children braving the blockade to build a snow man.
Al-Telawi spoke with Syria Direct’s Abdulrahman al-Masri about his fellow citizens’ efforts to survive one of the largest storms in decades without oil or electricity.
Q: How has the weather been inside the blockaded area?
A: It is so cold here and there is fog, not to mention the bombardment. We have everything inhuman. The snow started at 2 p.m. Thursday and didn’t stop. Homs is covered with snow, even outside of the blockaded area.
Bebars al-Telawi in what is left of the Old City of Homs.
Q: How can you acclimate to the snow?
A: There is no way to acclimate. We have been blockaded for over 500 days, and the regime has cut everything that comes in to the city. There are 16 blockaded neighborhoods. We have nothing to make it easier on us, no gasoline or electricity.
Before the snow fell, people gathered the broken wood from the rubble broken during the bombardment. Blockade people have transformed heaters that used to work with gasoline to work with wood.
Today, the cold during war time is a tool to kill children. [At least one] child died in [the Homs province town of] Rastan because of the blockade. He couldn’t live because of the cold. He didn’t die from bullets or fragments, only from the cold!
Q: How are the roads inside blockaded areas?
A: You cannot move around because of the snow. People gather the wood nearest to their houses and go back home to dry it to be burned later.
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