Lebanon provides shelter for journalists trapped in Homs

The four Western journalists stuck in Baba Amr for a week have finally managed to cross into the Lebanese border as the evacuation of the injured French journalist Edith Bouvier and the French photographer William Daniel took place on Thursday night. The Lebanese Beqaa border seems to offer a safe escape for the trapped journalists in the besieged Syrian city of Homs.

Upon her arrival in Lebanon Bouvier was treated at Beirut’s Hotel Dieu hospital, before her departure to Paris.

"Their return was quiet long. I understood that their journey extended for days due the security constraints on their way back and due to the health situation of Edith Bouvier," said French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pieton.

The activists network the Local Coordination Committees claims that Bouvier abstained from negotiating her escape with the Syrians officials because she refused to hand in her tapes and notes before leaving Homs.

AVAAZ spokesman Wissam al-Tarif said that since journalists have been significantly targeted, Lebanon has received an increased number of injured people.

Bouvier was wounded along with british photographer Paul Conroy, last week during a government rocket attack on a media center where the American journalist Marie Colvin and the French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed.

The Spanish reporter Javier Espinosa, one of the four trapped Western journalists, has crossed into Lebanon on Wednesday, following Tuesday’s rescue of wounded British photographer Paul Conroy.

For the latter, the journey wasn’t a smooth one either.

Abou Raed, a member of the Syrian High Commission for Relief explains how Conroy was evacuated. “The rescue operation succeeded due to God and the efforts of the Free Syrian Army. During the three hour operation of getting the British journalist out of Homs, shells and rockets were falling on them."

The journey into Lebanon is long and dangerous. Along with those western trapped journalists, five other reporters have fled Homs into in the past two days. They were required to take a longer route in order to avoid continuous attacks and gunfire from the Syrian army.

Despite the fact that the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva has called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, Syria continues to show negative responsiveness to international request as it denied entry for U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.

Speakers:

Denis Pieton - French Ambassador to Lebanon
Wissam al-Tarif - AVAAZ spokesman
Abou Raed - a member of the Syrian High Commission for Relief

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