Veteran American journalist Marie Colvin was killed Wednesday in heavy shelling by the Syrian Army in Homs, along with a French photographer. Two other journalists, including an American woman and a British man, were wounded in the continuing siege on the central city.
According to an eyewitness, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continued the use of heavy artillery in the assault on the Baba Amr neighborhood in the city.
Among the buildings targeted in the shelling was the house in which the reporters were staying and which was peppered by mortar and rocket fire. As the journalists raced outside to escape the shelling, the group sustained a direct hit by a rocket, one of more than 10 that struck the house.
Video footage documented the bodies in the rubble, one with legs severed by shrapnel.
Colvin, described as "in her fifties" has been a media witness to the Arab Spring uprising since last year as it swept away regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and was covering the story for Britain's Sunday Times. She was killed along with 28-year-old French photographer Remi Ochlik, according to the British-based Syrian Network for Human Rights.
The second female American journalist, whose name has not yet been released, is in “really serious condition,” according to a local activist named Omar Shaker. British photographer Paul Conroy was also wounded, the sources said.
Last week New York Times journalist Anthony Shadid also died under fire, having suffered an asthma attack while covering the story in the Syrian conflict zone.
Thus far it has been impossible to evacuate the bodies – still buried in the rubble – due to the ceaseless shelling. It is not clear whether it has been possible to evacuate the injured, or whether they are receiving treatment on the scene.
"All the water towers on the roofs of the buildings have been bombed and destroyed," Shaker told reporters. "If people don't die of the bombing they will die of hunger. There is no water," and there has been no bread "for days," he added.
At least 200 people were wounded, with shells hitting targets at one point at a rate of about 10 per minute around the city.
Activists said some 100 Syrian citizens have died in the past 24 hours in the Assad government force's siege of Homs that began February 4. Homs is the country's third-largest city and one that has been considered a primary symbol of the anti-government uprising.