Mar. 8 - Amateur videos purport to show the streets of Homs, now abandoned and scarred by the 27-day shelling from government forces. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Amateur video out of Syria shows smoke rising from a building in Homs. The person taking the footage says people are still inside the building. The video, which could not be independently verified by Reuters comes after 27 days of shelling on rebel strongholds in the city. More footage shows deserted and devastated streets. The cameraman can be heard saying that all the people of the area have left. They wanted to escape the bombardment the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said she was "devastated" by the destruction she had seen in Homs. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF U.N. OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS, VALERIE AMOS, SAYING: "The devastation there is significant. That part of Homs is completely destroyed and I'm concerned to know what has happened to the people who lived in that part of the city." A Syrian Arab Red Crescent team that accompanied her there Wednesday said they had found few inhabitants among the ruins. Meanwhile, officials say that Syrian refugees have crossed into Turkey in growing numbers in recent days. Elsewhere in Syria, residents say Syrian security forces shot and wounded three mourners at a funeral in Damascus. This comes as Syria's deputy oil minister defected from the government, the highest-ranking defection since the start of the uprising. The United Nations estimates at least 7,500 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began a year ago. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.