Sarkozy brands deaths of reporters in Syria 'murder'

23rd February 2012, Comments 0 comments

French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared on Thursday that the deaths of a French photographer and a US reporter in the besieged Syrian city of Homs amounted to "murder".

American journalist Marie Colvin of Britain's The Sunday Times and freelance French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed Wednesday during what witnesses said was a bombardment of a rebel enclave by Syrian forces.

"Those who did this will have to account for it," the French leader told reporters during a campaign visit to northern France. "Thanks to globalisation, you can no longer commit murder under cover of utter silence."

"I saw the images. There was a decision to bombard a place because journalists were there," he alleged.

The circumstances of Colvin and Ochlik's death are not entirely clear, but activists opposed to Bashar al-Assad's forces said they were killed when government troops opened fire with heavy weapons on a rebel press centre.

Syrian authorities have said they should not be held responsible for the deaths of reporters who entered the country without visas and were working in an area "controlled by terrorists".

France, Britain and the United States have demanded a ceasefire to allow access for the Red Cross or others to bring out the bodies and rescue three more journalists caught up in the fighting, a Briton and two more French citizens.

In London, the British foreign ministry said the Sunday Times' photographer "Paul Conroy is on his way out of Homs to a neighbouring country where he will be receiving medical treatment."

But Edith Bouvier and William Daniels, working for French daily Le Figaro, are still trapped in the city, and appeared on an Internet video calling for urgent medical evacuation. Bouvier's femur is shattered.

© 2012 AFP

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