The Washington Post

Red Cross attempt to evacuate journalists from Syria fails

Update, Tuesday, 8:00 a.m.: Paul Conroy has been safely smuggled out of Syria, but the whereabouts of Edith Bouvier remain unknown.

Attempts to evacuate journalists from the besieged city of Homs on Monday failed, the BBC reports, citing the Red Cross. Vehicles reached the besieged suburb where the journalists were but left without them.

French journalist Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro, who is trapped in Homs, Syria. (YouTube via Associated Press)

There were conflicting reports about why the journalists could not be evacuated. The Syrian Foreign Ministry accused “armed groups” of refusing to hand them over. Opposition activists, however, said the wounded journalists refused to leave because they did not trust the group that had approached them.

The Red Cross is seeking to evacuate wounded French journalist Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro and British photographer Paul Conroy of the Sunday Times. Both asked for help leaving the city after they were injured in a government mortar strike on a makeshift media center Wednesday.

A video posted to YouTube that day showed Bouvier in a cast and Conroy with bandages around his left thigh and calf.

On Monday, Bouvier apparently would not board the evacuation vehicles and stayed behind “in solidarity” with the other journalists, according to the BBC.

The Red Cross is also attempting to recover the bodies of Marie Colvin, an American correspondent who worked for the Sunday Times, and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer, both killed in the same attack.

A local activist, Abu Mohammed Ibrahim, told the AP on Skype that the bodies of Colvin and Ochlik are being kept in an apartment and have begun to decay. Opposition groups said the wounded journalists also refused to go because they had doubts about what the government would do with the bodies

At a major international conference Friday in Tunisia, American, European and Arab nations asked the United Nations to plan for a civilian peacekeeping mission for Syria after the government crackdown ends.

Also Friday, a Syrian videographer who documented the unrest in Homs was killed in a mortar attack, the fourth journalist killed in Syria that week.



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