Monday 19 February 2018

Video: Bid to rescue injured photographer as massacre continues in Syria

Sam Marsden

EFFORTS are continuing to rescue a wounded British photographer trapped in Homs amid continued heavy shelling of the besieged Syrian city.

Paul Conroy, 47, was injured and his Sunday Times colleague Marie Colvin, 56, was killed in a rocket attack by Syrian government forces on the makeshift media centre where they were working on Wednesday.

Mr Conroy, a freelance photographer and filmmaker on assignment with The Sunday Times, appealed for help in escaping Homs in a video posted on YouTube yesterday.

Lying on a sofa in a darkened room and covered in a blanket, he said he sustained "three large wounds" to his leg in the attack.

He went on: "I'm currently being looked after by the Free Syrian Army medical staff, who are treating me with the best medical treatment available. It's important to add that I'm here as a guest and not captured.

"Obviously any assistance that can be given by government agencies would be welcome and we will work on the same premise on the ground."

Mr Conroy, originally from Liverpool but now living in Totnes, Devon, added that he wanted to reassure family and friends in Britain that he is "absolutely OK".

At one point in the video the sound of a shell attack can be heard in the background.

Diplomatic officials are also working to recover the body of US-born Ms Colvin, an award-winning war reporter hailed as one of the greatest foreign correspondents of her generation.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "All the necessary work is being done on repatriating Marie Colvin's body and ensuring Paul Conroy gets to safety."

The attack on the media centre in Homs on Wednesday also killed French photojournalist Remi Ochlik and left French reporter Edith Bouvier, of Le Figaro newspaper, seriously injured.

Ms Bouvier also pleaded in a YouTube video for help in being evacuated to safety in Lebanon.

She said: "I need to be operated on as soon as possible.

"Here the doctors have treated us very well, as well as they can, but they cannot perform surgical operations, so I need a ceasefire to be imposed as soon as possible."

Syrian activists have accused Syrian president Bashar Assad's forces of deliberately targeting the journalists in Wednesday's attack.

The Syrian foreign ministry has offered condolences to the families of Ms Colvin and Mr Ochlik but denied any responsibility for their deaths.

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