Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Two Journalists Killed in Syria


While stationed at a media center in Homs, Syria, two award-winning journalists — American war correspondent Marie Colvin, 55, and French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik, 28 — were killed on Feb. 22 in a Syrian army rocket attack during the recent uprising against the country's president, Bashar al-Assad.

Another journalist, British photographer Paul Conroy, was seriously injured in the attack and was smuggled out of Homs a week later by Syrian rebels.

Reports say Ochlik and Colvin were escaping from the building, which was held at the time by anti-Assad rebels, when they were hit by the barrage. It is suspected that Assad's armed forces locked on to the media center’s satellite phone signals in order to target the journalists' location in particular.

Days before the attack, Lebanese intelligence intercepted communication between Syrian army officers which revealed that direct orders were issued to target the makeshift press center in order to stop the information coming out of Homs. Though warned, several reporters stayed, waiting to cover the major offensive expected to hit the city.

Assad's forces are trying to prevent messages such as the one that Colvin aired right before she was killed. In her international broadcast, she accused Assad's army of murder and described the death of a young child who had been wounded in an earlier missile attack.

Tragically, this offensive strategy of targeting war correspondents has become increasingly common. A month before the Feb. 22 attack, French TV cameraman Gilles Jacquier was killed in Homs by mortar shells that were allegedly fired by Syrian forces.

The recent deaths have further heightened international awareness of the need to end what has so far been 11 months of bloody repression by Assad's forces.

According to an article by The New York Times, five journalists have been killed in worldwide conflicts this year, and 282 journalists, citizen journalists and media assistants have been imprisoned. Last year, 66 journalists and two media assistants were killed in the line of duty covering wars around the world.