Homs in grief after ‘eye of truth’ dies
Armed with valor, vigor and a lone video camera, citizen journalist Basil al Sayid chronicled the Syrian siege of Homs for months before a sniper picked him off and killed him.
Now, the city is mourning a man some call the “eye of truth.”
“He was a very brave young man and he wanted to specialize in a certain angle of the revolution,” said Omar Shakir, a pseudonym for a close friend and colleague in Baba Amr, a Homs neighborhood at the center of anti-government ferment. “He chose to be a videographer because he was courageous. The minute you hold a camera you are a target for snipers.”
Amateur video has been a weapon of choice for activists confronting the Bashar al-Assad regime.
Since the anti-regime uprising began percolating in March, they’ve gotten the message out of Syria about the government’s crackdown every day with graphic videos. The videos contain sights of violence and piercing voice-overs from narrators.
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CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of social media video out of Syria, and authorities have not granted CNN access inside Syria.
The 24-year-old captured chilling scenes, and Baba Amr residents came to recognize his emphatic voice on the narration. Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, has become an epicenter of the uprising and a symbol of resistance.
“He was truly the eye of truth,” Shakir said. “Thousands of people saw the truth through his camera lens. We divided the neighborhood of Baba Amr into ten sections and each cameraman would be responsible for filming one of the sections. He had one of the most dangerous areas. He would film checkpoints, military movements, and snipers on the roof.”
Al Sayid died on Tuesday after he was shot and wounded last week. His final video was a clip of the moments around the time the young activist was hit.