Nightly News | February 22, 2012
>>> good evening. the pictures coming out of syria are hard to watch. they're also hard to look away from. there are bona fide atrocities going on there. while this type of violence is abhorrent, we have seen this before in this region in just the last few months. a well-equipped military is firing on civilians and trying to crush an uprising. they're firing on their own people and the world is now watching. among the civilian deaths, an american woman who had been in syria trying to get that story out. our own chief foreign correspondent richard engel is on the syrian border in turkey tonight and starts us off from there. richard , good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. today's violence showed the intensity of the syrian government's crackdown on the city of homs and its indiscriminate shelling of civilian area. even if you listen closely, it's hard to hear a single peaceful moment in homs . syrian troops ringing the city with fire rockets and machine guns to drive out a few hundred opposition forces. the blogger who took this video can be heard praying for his life. he was killed a few hours later. this morning, more voices were silenced. this rubble was a rudimentary media center in homs run by the syrian opposition who barely hold a few pockets in the city. the building took a direct hit. inside killed as they were working, french rafr remi ochlik and veteran american war correspondent marie colvin who reported for the british newspaper "the sunday times." colvin provided the bbc with some of the most vivid accounts of the brutality. hearing her now is haunting hours before her death.
>> there were shells, rockets coming in hitting any building. i have not seen one military target. they're similarly all firing. the wounded and dead i've seen 80% civilians. it is shelling with impunity and a merciless disregard for the civilians who simply cannot escape.
>> reporter: colvin was no stranger to the cost of this unforgiving business of war reporting. she lost an eye to shrapnel in sri lanka . widely considered one of the greatest reporters of her generation, she was featured in a documentary about women on the front line . in homs there were no front lines , nowhere safe.
>> there is a small clinic. you can't really call it a clinic. it's an apartment that has been turned into a clinic. you have plasma bags hanging from coat hangers. i watched a little baby die today, absolutely horrific. the doctor said i can't do anything and that is happening over and over and over. no one here can understand how the international community can let this happen.
>> reporter: today in oyster bay , new york, colvin 's mother learned about her daughter's last dangerous assignment.
>> terrible. you're never ready for it. all these years and all this time i was never ready for it.
>> reporter: a daughter, a reporter whose work meant everything.
>> you know, it still matters to me. when it stops mattering to me, i'll stop doing it.
>> reporter: and brian, there are still 30,000 people in the city of homs low on food, low on supplies and under attack. even where we are on the syrian border with turkey, we can still hear the shelling tonight inside syria .
>> richard engel , be safe in your travels. richard with is tonight again from the syrian/turkey border. richard , thanks for your reporting.