‘Catastrophe’: Journalist behind the lines in Syria sees no end to war

As International Editor at NBC News’ British partner ITV News, Bill Neely has covered the Libyan and Egyptian revolutions, the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, as well as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is on his fourth trip in seven months to Syria, a country largely off-limits to Western journalists, where he and his team are covering the war. He spoke to msnbc.com’s F. Brinley Bruton from Syria where he was witnesssing what he called “the battle for Damascus.”

Q: Are you surprised by the level of violence you’ve seen on this trip?

A: Every day there are surprising things to be seen. On my last trip I was genuinely surprised by the level of destruction in the Baba Amr district of Homs where Marie Colvin (an American correspondent for Britain’s Sunday Times) was killed. I think this time it has been really surprising to see three, four miles from the center of Damascus such sustained bombardment. Nobody in Damascus can be unaware of what’s happening.

I was surprised to see (the Free Syrian Army) operate quite openly. I mean, on Monday they drove us around for a long time through suburbs of Damascus. There wasn’t a sign in sight of any army presence and they weren’t hiding themselves, they were driving around with the guns out the window.

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About fbrinleybruton

F. Brinley Bruton has been a journalist for 15, and worked in Kabul, Mexico City, Philadelphia, and New York City. Now based in London, she is a editor, producer and senior writer at NBCNews.com, a leader in breaking news and original journalism online that gets over a billion page views a month. Before joining MSNBC.com -- which became NBCNews.com in 2012 -- Brinley wrote about security, business and finance, international development and women’s issues. She has worked at Reuters in London and New York, and her pieces have appeared in the New Statesman, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Long Island Newsday, The Star-Ledger, and Arabies Trends, among others. She also wrote and blogged for AlertNet, Reuters’ humanitarian news website.
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