Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Homs: Bloody winter in Syria's revolution capital

The Arab Spring has turned to bloody winter in Homs, the city that has suffered the most from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's deadly nationwide crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Known as the capital of the revolution, Homs has seen the worst of the violence that has left an estimated 5,000 people dead since protests began in Syria in March.

Located in the agricultural heartland of central Syria, Homs has long been a transport and commercial hub of vital strategic importance.

The road through Homs connects the capital, Damascus, in the south to Syria's largest city, Aleppo, in the north. Homs is home to one of two oil refineries in the country; preserving that oil supply is crucial to the Assad regime's ongoing efforts to crush the anti-government movement there.

Syria's third largest city and its citizens, known as "Homsies," hold a contradictory place in the Syrian national conscience, according to Chris Phillips, a Syria analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit.

"Homsies are often the butt of jokes in Syria," said Phillips, "but they've actually got quite a large cultural and educational influence on the country." Read More