Inside the Underground Lives of Syrian Activists

November 4, 2011

Syria Undercover airs Nov. 8; check your local listings or watch it online.

Forced into hiding by a government that ruthlessly detains, tortures and even murders them, wanted Syrian opposition activists live on the run, moving from safe house to safe house as they organize in secret.

Reporter Ramita Navai, who spent two weeks undercover with Syrian activists in September, at one point found herself trapped in a safe house for 72 hours while militias loyal to the government raided the house next door. In the above excerpt, Navai and the activists are alerted to YouTube clips showing the militias arriving into town. She later listens as a mother in the house next door pleads with government forces to not take her son.

“I’m constantly anxious and scared that we’re going to be tracked down,” Navai says during the three-day ordeal. “And this is just a fraction of what these guys go through as wanted dissidents. They’ve been living like this for the past five months.”

Because of a virtual ban on independent journalists inside the country, grainy cell phone videos of violent attacks are some of the only visuals the world has seen showing the nearly eight-month long crackdown that has claimed the lives of more than 3,000 civilians.

On Tuesday’s program, Syria Undercover, Navai, who posed as a tourist to enter the country, takes us into some of the most dangerous areas to profile the fugitive lives of opposition activists. In the same hour, you’ll also see New York Times foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid and other experts explain how President Bashar al-Assad has managed to hold onto power for so long and what could happen if his regime falls. We hope you’ll watch.

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