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Journalists targetted by Syrian regime: French reporters

Syrian forces seemed to be directly targeting journalists in Homs, wounded French reporter Edith Bouvier and photographer William Daniels said today, after escaping the beseiged city.

world Updated: Mar 04, 2012 07:34 IST

Syrian forces seemed to be directly targeting journalists in Homs, wounded French reporter Edith Bouvier and photographer William Daniels said on Saturday, after escaping the beseiged city.


"There were at least five successive explosions, very near. We really had the impression that we were directly targetted," the Figaro daily quoted the pair as saying after their return to Paris Friday.

The rocket attack on February 22 in the flashpoint Baba Amr area of Homs killed French photographer Remi Ochlik as well as veteran Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, and wounded Bouvier and British photographer Paul Conroy.

Paris prosecutors on Friday opened a murder probe into the attack. The bodies of Ochlik and Colvin were meanwhile formally identified in Damascus by the French and Polish ambassadors.

Le Figaro reporter Bouvier has multiple fractures to her leg from the rocket attack on a makeshift media centre in Baba Amr.

Bouvier, 31 and Daniels, 34, were smuggled out of Syria to Beirut by activists and were greeted by relatives and French President Nicolas Sarkozy when they arrived Friday at a French airbase near Paris.

The two Figaro journalists recounted their harrowing experience from the time on February 22 when Syrian rockets began hitting the "press centre".

"The Syrian activists who were with us, used to these bombardments, understood the danger immediately. They told us that we must leave right away," the paper quoted the Bouvier and Daniels as saying.

Colvin and Ochlik were the first to leave. A missile landed in front of the press centre.

"The explosion was massive, Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik were practically at the point of impact. They were killed on the spot," the Figaro reported.

The injured Bouvier couldn't move her leg. "I screamed" and Syrian insurgent fighters took the journalists to a field hospital in a nearby house.

The International Committee of the Red Cross made some attempt at evacuating those remaining, but were unable to get the western journalists out as the Syrian regime forces carried out the assault which eventually led to the rebels' withdrawal.

The two French journalists managed to reach the Lebansese border Thursday after finally escaping from Homs in an operation which they would not divulge.

The pair praised the insurgents who "really put themselves in danger" to get them out, according to Bouvier.