my piece on Homs for the Harper’s Mag
More than 10,000 people have been arrested in Homs, Syria’s third-largest city, in the past two months. I’ve been staying near the souk, and every night I hear the sound of tanks patrolling the streets, machine-gun fire, and soldiers shouting orders. Everything else is quiet: as the Mukhabarat takes another Syrian from his bed, the only response is the silence of hundreds of closed windows. Occasionally teargas fills the night air. In the morning, Homs turns back into a rather boring and conservative industrial city. Where buses loaded with policemen were parked the night before, a single traffic cop stands stretching his arms in the air. Everybody is in denial. “You must have heard too much Al Arabiya or Al Jazeera,” they say. It would be hard to believe one’s own nighttime memories were it not for the thirty tanks parked just outside town and the dozens of militiamen leaning on their worn-out Kalashnikovs.
read more on the Harper’s at :