Marie Colvin, an American who reported for the London Sunday Times, and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer, were killed this morning (22 February 2012) when a shell hit a house in the Baba Amr district of Homs, Syria that was being used as a media centre. Two other foreign journalists were wounded; Edith Bouvier of the French newspaper Le Figaro, who is reported to be in a serious condition, and Paul Conroy, a British freelance photographer who was working with Colvin.
Homs has been besieged by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 4 February. More than 40 people were killed yesterday alone, including Rami al-Sayed, who had broadcast a live video stream that was used by world media. Western journalists have mostly had to enter Syria secretly since the uprising against al-Assad’s regime began in March 2011. Colvin’s reports have been used by a number of Western media outlets.
This shows the risks that journalists are prepared to take to report on war zones, and also the difficulty of finding out what is actually happening in a situation such as that in Syria, where there are relatively few independent reporters. The death of journalists will bring the story back to the front pages, but it is hard to see what the West can do. Some will try to draw parallels with Libya, but there is little prospect of China or Russia backing a UN Security Council resolution calling for intervention, and al-Assad appears to have the backing of a higher proportion of his armed forces than was the case for Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.
See the BBC website for more: