Filmed between August 2011 and August 2013, Return to Homs is a remarkably intimate portrait of a group of young revolutionaries in the city of Homs in western Syria. They dream of their country being free from President Bashar al-Assad and fi
Filmed between August 2011 and August 2013, Return to Homs is a remarkably intimate portrait of a group of young revolutionaries in the city of Homs in western Syria. They dream of their country being free from President Bashar al-Assad and fight for justice through peaceful demonstrations. As the army acts ever more brutally and their city transforms into a ghost town, the young men begin to take up arms. The protagonists are two friends: Basset, the charismatic 19-year-old goalkeeper of the national soccer team whose revolutionary songs make him the voice of the protest movement, and Osama, a 24-year-old media activist and cameraman. The close-up camerawork takes the viewer right into the city and scenes of grim battles in a deserted city soon replace those of lively protest parties in the streets. World Cinema Grand Jury Prize Documentary, Sundance Film Festival 2014
Anti-government protests erupted in Syria's southern governorate of Daraa in March 2011 and quickly spread to other parts of the country, including Homs. Security forces responded brutally to stamp out dissent, launching large-scale military operations in towns nationwide. During these operations, Human Rights Watch documented the unlawful killing of thousands of protesters and residents; arbitrary arrests, detention, and torture of thousands, including women and children, peaceful activists, and journalists; and the denial of medical assistance. In July 2012, as the peaceful uprising morphed into an internal armed conflict, laws of war violations by the government accelerated, including indiscriminate bombing and artillery attacks on populated areas and the use of starvation during sieges.