Video: Journalists safe after being smuggled out of Homs
Published 28/02/2012 | 10:25
TWO journalists who were trapped in Homs for five days after being wounded in a Syrian army bombardment have managed to escape into neighbouring Lebanon, according to the father of one of them.
Paul Conroy, a British photographer working for the Sunday Times, and Edith Bouvier, a French correspondent for Le Figaro, were reported to have travelled safely out of Syria overnight and were in Lebanon on Tuesday morning.
"We've just had word from Beirut," said Mr Conroy's father, Les, on Tuesday morning.
They are understood to have been smuggled out of a besieged enclave of Homs by the Syrian opposition.
However, there were conflicting reports over whether they had been successfully evacuated. Miles Amoore, Sunday Times correspondent in Afghanistan, tweeted that they were still in the Baba Amr area of Homs.
Both journalists suffered leg injuries last Wednesday during a barrage that killed Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer.
On Monday night, an attempt by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent - the local affiliate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - to evacuate Mr Conroy and Miss Bouvier from the Baba Amr area of Homs came to nothing. They are understood to have been reluctant to leave with the Red Crescent.
An ICRC spokesman said the removal of the journalists from Syria “definitely” had nothing to do with them.
The second bid to evacuate Conroy and Bouvier, from a besieged area of the city of Homs failed on Monday night when ambulances from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent left without them.
Both were both wounded last Wednesday during the same bombardment that killed Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer. Recovering the two corpses had also been the aim of the operation.
Last Friday, three ambulances from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent reached Baba Amr by agreement with the regime and brought seven wounded civilians out of the area.
On that occasion, the ICRC said that Mr Conroy and Miss Bouvier had “refused to be evacuated” by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent when the group “offered to take them out”.
The journalists, both of whom have suffered leg injuries, might have been worried about the impartiality of this organisation’s local volunteers. Opponents of President Bashar al-Assad believe the Syrian Arab Red Crescent is under the influence of the regime.
Between 20,000 and 30,000 people live in this district which has now been under bombardment for 24 consecutive days. Many of the wounded are being treated in makeshift clinics often located in mosques or private houses.
Injured people are often afraid to seek treatment from state hospitals or any organisation linked to the government because they fear the security forces will arrest any patient suspected of opposing the regime.