Two Western journalists killed in Syria

2012-02-22 13:01

Damascus - Two Western journalists were killed on Wednesday as Syrian regime forces pounded the rebel city of Homs for a 19th straight day, activists said, while calls mounted for a truce to allow in humanitarian aid.

The latest barrage came a day after security forces killed at least 68 people across Syria, bringing the overall death toll of violence since March 2011 to 7 636 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The toll includes 5 542 civilians, 1 692 soldiers and police, and 400 rebel fighters, the head of the Britain-based rights monitoring group, Rami Abdel Rahman, said.

Activist Omar Shaker from inside Baba Amr said two Western journalists were killed and three others wounded as a shell crashed into a makeshift media centre set up by anti-regime militants.

The area remained the target of random shelling, blocking attempts to remove the bodies, the activist said.

France said one of the journalists killed was a French national, as the Syrian Observatory said the two journalists killed were an American woman and a French man.

More troops

French television reporter Gilles Jacquier was killed in Homs last month as a shell exploded amid a group of journalists covering protests in the city on a visit organised by the Syrian authorities.

Despite a plea by activists to allow women and children to flee Homs's besieged Baba Amr neighbourhood, more troops were sent on Tuesday to the outskirts of the restive city, monitors and activists said.

A call by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) for a two-hour truce daily to deliver aid to afflicted areas gained support from the United Nations, as well as from the United States and Russia.

The call came a day after the ICRC said it was in talks with Syrian authorities and rebels to halt the violence.

Syria's main opposition group, meanwhile, demanded the international community create "safe havens" in the country and called on Russia to force the regime to allow access for humanitarian convoys.

At a news conference in Paris, the Syrian National Council said it would attend a summit of the countries known as the "Friends of Syria" and ask for safe zones to protect civilians and allow the opposition to organise.

Human rights crisis

The head of the rebel Free Syrian Army, Colonel Riyadh al-Asaad, has welcomed the humanitarian truce call but voiced doubts that the "criminal" regime would abide by a ceasefire arrangement.

And the UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Valerie Amos, called on Syria to allow aid groups unimpeded access to the country.

"This is a major human rights crisis that is now moving into significant humanitarian consequences," Amos said.

In Washington, White House press secretary Jay Carney said "we support calls for ceasefires to allow for the provision of humanitarian supplies to Syrians who desperately need it".

"Reprehensible actions taken by the Assad regime have led us to a situation where basic supplies, humanitarian supplies are very scarce."

Moscow, a staunch ally of the Syrian-regime, on Wednesday also supported the ICRC call for a truce, expressing "serious concern" about the humanitarian situation, according to foreign ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich.

Spiral of violence

And although top US military officer, General Martin Dempsey, has said it was "premature" to arm Syria's opposition, top Republican Senator John McCain called again for the outgunned rebels to be supplied with weapons.

But State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said "from our perspective, we don't believe that it makes sense to contribute now to the further militarisation of Syria.

"What we don't want to see is the spiral of violence increase. That said, if we can't get Assad to yield to the pressure that we are all bringing to bear, we may have to consider additional measures," she said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Syria was increasingly under pressure.

The Friends of Syria meeting in Tunis on Friday will "demonstrate that Assad's regime is increasingly isolated and that the brave Syrian people need our support and solidarity", she said.

Clinton will take part in the meeting, the State Department announced on Tuesday.

No comment from China


Russia announced that it will not take part in the meeting because it was being convened "for the purpose of supporting one side against another in an internal conflict", the foreign ministry said.

China, meanwhile, refused to commit to attend the meeting.

The Friends of Syria group will meet for the first time after being created in response to a joint veto by China and Russia of a UN Security Council resolution condemning the bloody crackdown.

Read more on:    icrc  |  bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Numsa prepares for life after Cosatu

Numsa has not only reiterated its call for President Jacob Zuma to resign but it is also preparing for life outside of Cosatu, a report states.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7699.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.