Friday, March 2, 2012

French journalists evacuated from Homs, Sarkozy confirms

Injured reporter Edith Bouvier and photographer William Daniels being looked after by French embassy in Beirut after escaping Syrian city, Friday 2 March 2012

"Two French journalists who were trapped in the besieged Syrian city of Homs have been evacuated to safety.

Injured reporter Edith Bouvier, who posted a video calling for urgent medical attention after she was injured in the bomb attack that killed the Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, has arrived in Lebanon and is on her way to a hospital in Beirut, her family confirmed.

Photographer William Daniels, who was trapped in the Baba Amr area of Homs for over a week, has also been safely evacuated.

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, confirmed that the pair were safe. Speaking to reporters in Brussels, where he was attending a European summit, Sarkozy said Bouvier could be flown back to France with doctors' consent.

The French foreign minister, Alain Juppé, said the journalists were being looked after by the French embassy. "Everything is being done to provide them with medical attention and to return them home as quickly as possible," he added.

The smuggling of the journalists into Lebanon followed eight days of negotiations and a failed attempt to get Bouvier and Daniels out of Homs.

The pair had left the city with the British photographer Paul Conroy on Sunday, but were forced to return after they were targeted on the outskirts, the campaign group Avaaz, which helped co-ordinate the escape, said.

A second evacuation effort on Tuesday moved the pair to a safer neighbourhood of Homs and from there to Lebanon.

"Against incredible odds, Syrian activists have rescued all four international journalists from the hell of Baba Amr," Avaaz said in a statement......"

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