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Middle east

French journalists arrive in Paris after escape from Homs

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-03-03

French reporter Edith Bouvier and photographer William Daniels have arrived in France after being evacuated from the Syrian city of Homs late Thursday. French President Nicolas Sarkozy greeted the pair on their arrival at Villacoublay Airport.

Injured French journalist Edith Bouvier and photographer William Daniels, who were both evacuated from the embattled Syrian city of Homs late Thursday, arrived in France at Villacoublay airport on Friday.

The two journalists were brought across the border into Lebanon by Syrian rebels.

Bouvier, whose leg was fractured during heavy shelling in Homs’s Baba Amro district, had been waiting in a Lebanese hospital to be repatriated along with her colleague, the French Foreign Ministry said earlier on Friday.

Despite her injuries, Bouvier seemed to be in good spirits and was smiling in pictures taken by FRANCE 24.

'In good spirits'

“She is tired but in good spirits,” ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told FRANCE 24, adding that the French ambassador to Lebanon had visited her in hospital. “The injury to her leg is very serious, but according to the doctors who treated her in Beirut, she had been properly looked after.”

Bouvier’s escape from restive Syria had been postponed a number of times, and she finally crossed the northern Lebanese border on Thursday where she was met by doctors and a team from the French embassy, according to Valero.

“As soon as she arrives in Paris she will be taken straight to hospital,” he added.

Speaking to FRANCE 24 late Thursday, a Bouvier family member said he had been contacted by French officials that night to confirm that the 31-year-old journalist had arrived in Lebanon and was on her way to a Beirut hospital.

The family member, who did not want his name disclosed, said she was “fine” and that the family was “happy and relieved”.

El Mundo journalist Javier Espinosa reports on his experience in Homs

Shortly after the family’s confirmation, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he had spoken on the phone to Bouvier and that she would be repatriated home on a French government plane.

Trapped in Homs

Bouvier’s journey to Lebanon capped an anxious eight days of intense negotiations and at least one failed attempt to get her out of Homs.

A freelance reporter in Syria for the French daily Le Figaro, Bouvier was wounded in an attack which killed veteran American reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik.

She was then trapped in Homs with French photographer William Daniels. Witnesses told Reuters that Daniels had arrived in Lebanon with Bouvier.

On Wednesday, another journalist who was also in Baba Amro, Spanish reporter Javier Espinosa, arrived in Lebanon.

His escape came days after wounded British photographer Paul Conroy braved a perilous journey to make it safely into Lebanon.

Bouvier’s femur was shattered during heavy shelling in Baba Amro and she was unable to escape the besieged district with Conroy earlier this week.

A plea for help

Concerns over Bouvier’s fate had been mounting over the past few days following a videotaped message showing the journalist pleading for help in getting from Homs to Lebanon.

Lying in bed under a blanket, Bouvier detailed her extensive injuries.

“I have a broken leg. The femur is broken along its length and laterally too. I need to undergo surgery as soon as possible. The doctors here have treated us as well as they can, but they can’t perform surgery. So I need a ceasefire and an ambulance or car in good enough shape to get us out,” she said.

The international community has been trying to secure a ceasefire in Syria in order to deliver badly needed humanitarian aid to the besieged parts of the country.

The UN has estimated that more than 7,500 people have been killed since the uprising began last year.

In its first statement on Syria in seven months, the UN Security Council on Thursday condemned the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country and called on the Syrian government to grant “immediate and unhindered access” to UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.

Syrian authorities have not approved repeated requests from Amro to visit the country.



Date created : 2012-03-02


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