Sunday 19 November 2017

Mystery deepens as to whereabouts of injured French journalist trapped in Homs

Wounded French journalist Edith Bouvier, a French correspondent for Le Figaro is trapped in Homs(AP)
Journalist Paul Conroy of the Sunday Times has escaped the besieged city of Homs (Shaam News Network)
Marie Colvin 1956 - 2012: An American journalist who had worked for the The Sunday Times in Britain since 1985.
Remi Ochlik and american correspondent Marie Colvin were killed on February 22nd, 2012 in the besieged city Syrian city of Homs.

IT WAS still unclear today whether French reporter Edith Bouvier, of the Le Figaro newspaper, who suffered multiple leg fractures in Syria, had been evacuated.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy had to retract an assurance that she was safe, her employer reported.

The newspaper quoted him saying: "The information we are receiving is extremely complex to analyse. It is not confirmed that Mrs Bouvier is today in safety in Lebanon.

"It is true that we are working on this evacuation...Earlier I was imprecise and I apologise."

British journalist Paul Conroy was "in good spirits" today after escaping from the besieged Syrian city of Homs.

The photographer and Ms Bouvier were injured last week in the attack which killed Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik.

Mr Conroy, 47, suffered three large wounds to his leg when the media centre where the journalists were working was shelled by Syrian government forces on February 22.

The freelance photographer and film-maker was smuggled out of Homs by Syrian rebels and whisked across the border to Lebanon.

Homs, a stronghold of the Syrian opposition, has become a symbol of the 11-month uprising against the country's president Bashar Assad.

The British Ambassador to Lebanon, Tom Fletcher, told his Twitter followers his consulate was "looking after" Mr Conroy.

He added: "Paul's experience a chilling testimony to what families in Homs experiencing. Need renewed focus on humanitarian support & end to violence."

Prime Minister David Cameron said today Paul Conroy is safe and is being well at the British Embassy in Lebanon,

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Cameron said the photographer was now in the hands of British Embassy staff in Lebanon.

He said: "It is very important, the role that the media do in being in incredibly difficult places like Homs in Syria, to bring the truth and to bring the news to the world. That's what Paul Conroy was doing and that is what Marie Colvin was doing when she tragically lost her life.

"I certainly pay tribute to him and above all... pay tribute to the very brave people who helped to get him out of Syria, many of whom have paid an incredibly high price."

Ms Colvin, 56, was killed after defying an order from her editor to leave the city because she wanted to finish "one more story", her mother Rosemarie has said.

Mrs Colvin also told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme she could not rest "with my daughter's remains in that country".

The Foreign Office said "all the necessary work" was being done to bring the journalist's body home.

Speaking in the House of Commons, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was "horrified" at the ongoing bloodshed Syria - but stopped short of threatening force to stop the violence and topple President Bashar al-Assad

"I pay tribute to journalists who ensure that the world is aware of the crimes that are now being committed, something that we are determined to document and seek justice for," he added.

"Too many people have already lost their lives in Homs and elsewhere in Syria, and we again urge the Syrian regime to ensure an end to the violence against civilians and access for humanitarian agencies."

UN political chief B. Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council today there are "credible" reports that more than 100 civilians are dying in the country each day.

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