The destruction in the Jouret al-Shayyah section of Homs
Last week, Al Jazeera English introduced a diary:
I am Rafeeq from the Syrian city of Homs. I used to be a student at the university but became a dropout after the revolution in my country started. While I didn’t get involved in organising anti-regime rallies, I was occupied with helping in field hospitals those injured in the crackdown on protests.
But as the government started using advanced and heavy weaponry, the injuries became more serious and required complicated surgeries. And because I am not a surgeon, the least I was able to do is to document the suffering of those injured.
I began exploring photography. It became my new hobby while living under siege. It also became my new purpose. Several of my friends died while taking footage of the shelling and the humanitarian catastrophe in Homs and so I feel I the need to carry out their work.
While those still alive in Old Homs neighbourhood are slowly dying – due to lack basic living requirements such as food, drinking water and medical supplies - we cannot resign to our fate. We have a duty to carry out what our friends have started.If luck is on my side and I manage to survive the shelling and the sufferings it has brought, I intend to constantly update you with my story of life under siege.
Al Jazeera stresses it cannot verify the claims.
The latest entry....
Tuesday, 3 July
Today, July 3, marks the 26th day since the siege on the opposition-stronghold neighbourhoods in Homs began.
Three out of the four roads that connected us to other neighbourhoods in the city had been blocked throughout that period.
But on Tuesday, the Syrian army blocked the fourth road.
The road used to be my only way to visit my family --- who took refuge in a relatively calmer neighbourhood.
It had been risky to take that route due to the presence of checkpoints on the way. There had always been the possibility that security forces could figure out who the real person behind the pseudonym Rafeeq is and I could get arrested.
But it was still our only lifeline.
However, security forces have closed down that road completely. Tanks have been stationed along the way and snipers have been stationed on rooftops of buildings there.
We are completely trapped.
Food supplies have stopped, forcing us to survive on canned food. Water and electricity have been cut off in 95 per cent of the besieged areas, making the whole area dependant on five per cent of the homes that still have the luxury of water and electricity.
Throughout the world, thieves usually break into homes to steal. We, in the besieged areas in Homs, have begun breaking into homes to use the little water remaining in the water tanks.
I have never imagined that I could enter a stranger’s house without asking for permission. At the beginning of the siege, we endured life without doing that. But 15 days later, we could no longer tolerate the situation.
Before breaking into a house, we usually check if the shelling hadn't damaged the water tanks on rooftops. Unfortunately, many of them have been.
As suffocating as the siege is, the situation could have been better had the rockets stopped for a while.
The non-stop shelling for the past three days have prevented me from going out on my usual photography spree.
Even writing my blog had been put to a halt.
Writing requires a degree of tranquility, a luxury that I no longer have.
Every rocket that falls near my residence makes the whole building shake and the smoke that rises afterward seeps into the basement where I am are staying.
There is no sign that the shelling would stop and the siege would be lifted anytime soon.
We followed the Geneva conference on Syria online. It seems that world leaders are not interested in helping us.