Syria unrest spirals out of control
A roadside bomb attack on a police truck carrying prisoners killed at least 14 people in northwestern Syria Saturday, and a battle between troops and defectors near the Turkish border killed another 10.
The U.S. said Friday night the ongoing violence may force it to close its embassy in Damascus. CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer is in the capital.
On most days Damascus is still the calm at the center of Syria's political storm.
But just six miles from the city center, it's a no-man's land sealed off by the Syrian army.
Speaking from a moving vehicle, Palmer said: "We were held at a military checkpoint on the outskirts of Douma, a suburb of Damascus for over an hour. While we waited, we could hear the sound of gunfire. Finally the soldiers waved us inside. It's eerily quiet except for military at almost every corner."
Just an hour earlier, video posted on the Internet showed the streets of Douma filled with anti-government protesters. By the time Palmer and her crew were allowed in, residents told them they ran away when the shooting started.
Over the years, anyone who challenged the ruling family was either exiled or jailed, like Dr Abdul Aziz Khayer, an opposition leader now out of prison and deeply worried by the past 10 months of vicious fighting.
"It must be a warning to all those, and they must act very quickly and very effectively to avoid the progress of civil war."
But calls for political dialogue are lost in the growing chorus of religious hatred and the volleys of gunfire.
It's a tragedy both for Syria and for the embryonic opposition .
"If the battle is lost," said Khayer, "most of us will be either jailed or executed. We know that. So we must not lose our fight. "
Outside the capital, spiraling mistrust and murder suggest it may already be too late.
- Okla. tornado survivor finds dog buried alive under rubble
- Storm spotter: Oklahoma tornado "a nightmare"
- Survivors pulled from Okla. school hit by tornado
- Injured third-grade teacher tells of trying to protect students
- Oklahoma tornado survivor: "Everything is gone"
- 5/21: Plaza Towers Elementary School: A look at the damage; Tornado injuries: A doctor's point of view
- Okla. family mourns child killed at school following tornado
- Tornado in Moore, Okla., was an EF5, the most powerful there is
- Oklahoma native's home destroyed for the second time
- 5/21: Family's last-minute decision likely saved their lives; Closer look reveals extent of destruction in Moore
- Mother and daughter share stories of survival
- Poignant images capture tornado's emotional aftermath
- Saving the kids: One teacher's mission to keep her class safe
- 5/20: Deadly tornado strikes Okla.; Fmr. Cincinnati IRS office worker speaks out
- Tornado survivor: "I'm very lucky I am still here"
- 5/21: Tornado in Moore, Okla., was an EF5, the most powerful there is