Daily Israel Report

Trapped French Journalists Escape Syria

After being trapped in Homs for days, French journalists Edith Bouvier and William Daniels reach Lebanon.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/2/2012, 9:05 AM

Edith Bouvier
Edith Bouvier
Reuters

After being trapped in Syria for days, French journalists Edith Bouvier and William Daniels made it safely into Lebanon on Thursday, The Associated Press reported.

According to the report, French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed the two have been rescued during a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels.

Bouvier and Daniels had been in the Baba Amr district of Homs during a month long siege. Bouvier was wounded last week in a government attack that killed American-born journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik.

“I had her on the phone. She is with her colleague, outside Syria,” AP quoted Sarkozy as having said during an impromptu news briefing. “She has suffered a lot, but she will give the details herself. She is injured in the left leg.”

Sarkozy would not give any details on the extraction, including who took Bouvier out of Homs, saying only that “it was done by efficient people.”

In a statement after Sarkozy's announcement, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe expressed his “immense joy” that the two journalists were safe in Lebanon.

“They were taken in by the French Embassy in Beirut and everything is being down to ensure their medical care and their repatriation as soon as possible,” Juppe said.

The Free Syria Army claimed this week that efforts to covertly facilitate Bouvier’s escape from Homs were reportedly halted at the last minute when it learned of a plot to "use her as a bargaining chip with the French government."

Last week, Bouvier and Daniels asked for help leaving Syria. A YouTube video showed Bouvier pleading to be allowed to leave Homs in order to receive the proper medical treatment.

Earlier on Thursday it was reported that forces loyal to President Bashar Assad had taken over the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs.

Most of the rebels in the Baba Amr section reportedly retreated after withstanding three weeks of government shelling. Opposition members called the retreat "tactical" and noted that a few combatants remained inside Baba Amr in order to provide for cover for their retreating colleagues.

Meanwhile, Syrian activists in Homs claimed on Thursday to have buried Colvin in the city. The activists uploaded a video to YouTube, in which they claim to be documenting Colvin’s funeral.

The video clip shows a man, whose identity is unknown but who previously appeared in several films from the neighborhood, saying that he is at a cemetery in the neighborhood of Baba Amr, where Colvin was killed.

The man added that opposition activists decided to bury Colvin in Homs because there was no electricity to cool the body and it began to decay.