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One other anxiety has been relieved. Three days after Daniels wrote Ochlik's and Colvin's names on their body bags, medical workers buried their corpses because there was no longer fuel for refrigerating the morgue. SARC exhumed the bodies when regime forces finally seized control of Bab Amr on March 3. Colvin's remains were repatriated to New York, Ochlik's to Paris, where they were cremated on March 6, the one-year anniversary of the Syrian uprising.
But something troubles Daniels. He says repeatedly that he is deeply uncomfortable that the ordeal of Western journalists has gripped the world's attention while hundreds of residents in Bab Amr have been killed. The people they left behind may well have been slaughtered by the Syrian army. With the supply and escape tunnel reportedly destroyed, the odor of death pervades the district. The carnage continues in other parts of Syria. The violence Assad has unleashed "will get worse before it gets better," General James Mattis, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "He will continue to employ heavier and heavier weapons on his people."
"The real story is not us," Daniels says. "It's the Syrian people." It is, unfortunately, a story that cannot yet be told in full. Even the names of the activists who died in the rescue must remain secret. The very revelation of their identities is likely to put others in danger in a Syria where mourning the dead may itself be punishable by death.
TO SEE WILLIAM DANIELS' PHOTOS FROM HOMS, GO TO time.com/daniels