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Wounded British journalist rescued, safe in Lebanon

Wounded British photographer Paul Conroy was safe in Lebanon on Tuesday after being smuggled out of the besieged Syrian city of Homs, as France’s president retracted a statement that a French journalist had also escaped.

Friday 2 March 2012, 03:55PM

President Nicolas Sarkozy went back on an earlier statement that Le Figaro newspaper’s Edith Bouvier, who has multiple fractures, had been rescued from the besieged Baba Amr district of Homs.

And a management source at Le Figaro told AFP that Bouvier, 31, was “not in Lebanon but still in Syria.”

Earlier, a Lebanese official told AFP: “The information we have is that both arrived overnight in Lebanon.”

“Paul Conroy is at the British embassy and in good condition. Edith Bouvier is also here in Lebanon but we have no information as to where she is exactly,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In London, the Foreign Office in London said freelancer Conroy was “receiving full consular assistance from our embassy.”

Thirteen activists were killed trying to help the Western journalists and to bring in aid to the Homs rebel stronghold of Baba Amr, international activist group Avaaz said.

UN officials called for an immediate ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into violence-torn regions of
Syria, where the United Nations now says well over 7,500 people have been killed.

The death toll in the Syrian government crackdown is now “certainly well over 7,500,” B. Lynn Pascoe, UN undersecretary general for political affairs, told the Security Council on Tuesday.

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The international community’s failure to “stop the carnage” is encouraging the Syrian government to
believe that it can act with “impunity,” Pascoe said.

But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that declaring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a war criminal could “complicate” a solution to the crisis.

“I also think that from long experience that can complicate a resolution of a difficult, complex situation because it limits options to persuade leaders perhaps to step down from power,” Clinton told a Senate hearing.

Earlier, a spokeswoman for Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper said Conroy was “in good shape and good spirits” following his escape.

A father of three, Conroy was working for the weekly during a rocket attack on February 22 on a makeshift media centre in Baba Amr.

US veteran reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in last week’s rocket attack in Homs while Bouvier and Conroy were wounded.





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