Syria blogger reportedly killed in shelling

An image taken from video posted by Syrian opposition activists on Youtube allegedly shows the dead body of activist and blogger Rami al-Said, said to have been killed by shelling in Homs on Feb. 21, 2012.
Rami al-Said
An image taken from video posted by Syrian opposition activists on Youtube allegedly shows the dead body of activist and blogger Rami al-Said, said to have been killed by shelling in Homs on Feb. 21, 2012.

Ferocious shelling by Bashar Assad's security forces in the battered central Syrian city of Homs claimed at least 45 lives on Tuesday, according to activists, including that of a prominent video blogger whose horrifying images of the bombardment spread across the globe on social networking websites, but failed to spark any intervention from the international community.

In his last posting on Facebook, activist Rami al-Said, told people around world he appreciated their emotional backing, but begged the Syrian people's supporters to rally outside Syrian embassies against the shelling, and told them their inaction would not be forgiven.

Al-Said shot a great deal of the internet video which has been the only window for the world into the 18-day bombardment of Homs - a city so dangerous that few foreign journalists have ventured inside for weeks.

Cell phone videos show horrors inside Syria
Syria: Dozens killed; Red Cross urges cease-fire
Complete coverage: The Arab Spring

Meanwhile, activists also claimed Wednesday morning that two Western journalists were killed in the shelling of Homs. CBS News was working to confirm the identity of the journalists. Reports suggested that as many as four other Western journalists were injured in the shelling of a makeshift media center in the the neighborhood of Baba Amr.

Using the online handle "syriapioneer", al-Said chronicled with multiple daily videos and live streams the targeting of Baba Amr, an opposition-held area of Homs which has been battered by mortar and rocket fire for weeks.

His final Facebook post, which has been reposted by numerous activists, was fateful:

"Baba Amro is being wiped out now, complete genocide, I don't want you to tell us our hearts are with you because I know that, I want projects everywhere inside and outside I want everyone to go out in front of the embassies in al...l countries everywhere because we are soon to be nothing, there will be no more Baba Amr - I expect this is a final letter to you and we will not forgive you."

Al-Rami's live video was streamed online by a site called Bambuser - a feed which has monitored and even relayed to our readers during moments of intense shelling in Baba Amr.

Bambuser's vice president for communications, Eva Voors, posted a blog on the site Wednesday, mourning al-Said as a "very brave Syrian journalist."

According to Voors' post, al-Rami was killed along with three fellow activists by the shelling. He 26, and the father of a 3-year-old daughter.

He posted his last video online just hours before he was killed, according to his fellow activists. It shows just how close to the shelling al-Rami was willing to put himself to show the world what was happening in Homs. (Watch the video below)

A graphic video allegedly showing al-Rami's dead body was posted later on Youtube.

Al-Rami was one of the first Syrians to harness the power of social media and amateur video to expose the regime's violent tactics against its own people.

With Russia and China blocking harsher measures against the Assad regime by the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. has signaled a tentative willingness to take "additional measures" to stem the crackdown, but it's entirely unclear what measures the U.S. would be willing, or able, to take.

Al-Rami's death, while symbolic, was not unique. Activists say more than 100 people were killed in total on Tuesday, and in a worrying sign that the crackdown was ramping up outside Homs, a majority of those deaths were reportedly in the northwestern city of Idlib.

CBS News correspondent Clarissa Ward, who was reporting from Idlib just last week after sneaking into Syria (Click here to see more from Ward), said Tuesday morning that while arming the Syrian rebels would prove an incredibly complex task for America and its allies, it is clear the opposition stands little chance against Assad's regime without outside help.

  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.