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Blood, Smoke, Fear: U.N. Video From Syria

Stay with this video from the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria. After scenes of smoke rising above Homs and scared-looking families trying to cross highways, it takes viewers inside Talbiseh and al-Rastan — where the monitors were shown blood-stained ruins and where a man angrily declares:

"We are people! We are not animals!"

Our earlier post: "Syrian Children Are Being Killed, Tortured And Used As Shields, U.N. Says."

Update at 1:35 p.m. ET. Observers Prevented From Getting To Town:

"U.N. observers trying to reach the town of al-Haffeh today were confronted with angry crowds that surrounded their vehicles, stopping them from proceeding any further," the U.N. Supervision Mission tells reporters in an email forwarded to us by NPR's Deborah Amos.

It continues:

"The crowd, who appeared to be residents of the area, then hurled stones and metal rods at the U.N. vehicles. The U.N. observers turned back. As they were leaving the area, three vehicles heading towards Idlib were fired upon. The source of fire is still unclear.

"All U.N. observers are now back at their bases and are secure.

"The U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) has been trying to reach al-Haffeh since June 7 but has been impeded by the ongoing violence in the area. UNSMIS calls on the parties to grant the UN observers immediate and unfettered access to conflict zones."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.