12:25 p.m. | Updated Flames leaped from rooftops and sent thick clouds of black smoke curling into the sky. Powerful blasts punctuated the rattle of gunshots, blowing out the audio momentarily on a video streamed live for several hours from the embattled Syrian city of Homs on Monday.
The images opened a brief and intensely immediate window into heavy fighting in the restive city, a stronghold of opposition forces and the site of previous military crackdowns by the Syrian government.
Birds could be heard chirping as the battle raged, the images showed. Occasionally a man’s voice — possibly the cameraman — raised up against Kofi Annan, the joint United Nations and Arab League envoy who negotiated a cease-fire in April that has not stopped the bloodshed.
As the heavy blasts continued, a spokesman for Mr. Annan was quoted as expressing concern over the shelling in Homs. “There are indications that a large number of civilians are trapped in these towns,” the spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, said in a statement issued in Geneva, Reuters reported.
The images were the latest broadcast by an account called homslive to the video streaming site Bambuser, where such streams have appeared since the early months of the uprising in Syria last year. The streaming video resembled many of those posted to the account in its vantage — an expansive shot of rooftops, often with wafting smoke.
The BBC’s Paul Danahar observed the bombardment from a building used by the United Nations in Homs and posted frequent updates to his Twitter account. Several included images.
Mr. Danahar said the United Nations observers had been struggling to gain access to the old city, where much of the fighting was taking place, for two days. He also said that one of the U.N. monitors said the whirring sound they both heard overhead was a surveillance drone helping to direct the shelling.
Over the weekend, the monitors toured areas of Damascus, the capital, and were shown evidence of an attack on a government building — a single mortar round lodged deep in the cut grass. Several news crews traveled with the monitors.
As disputes have continued between antigovernment activists and the Syrian authorities over the nature of events on the ground, the U.N. monitors have been posting videos of their tours with increasing frequency, acting as de facto correspondents for an international press that has been unable to freely report on the 16-month conflict there.
The video of their tour on Sunday — which appeared on the monitor’s YouTube channel — captured images of smoke rising from the Mazzeh neighborhood of the city.