July 31, 2013
Bibers al-Tilawi, 23, is a former pastry chef from Homs now working as a citizen journalist in the most dangerous corners of the besieged city to document the destruction there. He tells Nuha Shabaan that the city has not yet fallen despite intensified regime attacks on it from the ground and air on a daily basis.
Q: What do you think about the Coalition’s declaration that the FSA has made a “tactical retreat” from the Khalidiya neighborhood in Homs?
A: The rebels didn’t retreat tactically; they retreated because they couldn’t defend the regime due to the lack of heavy weapons.
Q: Was there a meeting between the leadership of the FSA with Coalition representatives?
A: There was no meeting with the Coalition, the Coalition is absent from the battlefield and the truth is that the coalition doesn’t mean anything to us, we declared its death a long time ago.
Q: Is Saudi Arabia going to change the rules of the game in Syria to the rebels’ advantage?
A: Whoever is holding the key to Syria, whether it’s Saudi Arabia or anyone else is trying to impose a political solution on the rebels, the rebels will continue despite their wounds. They won’t give up and will not surrender their land or their cause, which is the reason they rebelled. They are playing with us like a football – they each take a shot and we are a mere game in their hands.
Q: How are the humanitarian conditions under the siege?
A: Drinking water is being transported from water wells which causes physical illnesses inside the blockaded areas. Either we die from the regime’s missiles or we die from hunger.
Q: Did Homs really fall?
A: The city of Homs didn’t fall; there are 14 neighborhoods in Homs. If one neighborhood falls after one year of shelling and assaults, this is a heroic act from the rebels who are facing the regime’s army, the National Guard units, Hezbollah units and officers from Iran.
They are facing the regime with unequal weapons. The rebels only have light to medium weapons.
The regime is hunting the sons of Homs wherever they are.