Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik were killed in Syria when rockets fired by Syrian government forces hit the house they were staying in. Three other reporters were also wounded in the shelling, including Paul Conroy, a British photographer who was working with Colvin, French reporter Edith Bouvier, and an unnamed American journalist.
Marie Colvin has been reporting from war zones for many years - she lost her left eye to shrapnel while on assignment in Sri Lanka in 2001. According to The Guardian, she was "regarded as Britain's foremost front-line war reporter". Her recent reports from Syria referenced "absolutely horrific" conditions in the country. Speaking to BBC News yesterday, she said "I watched a little baby die today" and described "shells, rockets and tank fire pouring into civilian areas of this city". According to UN estimates, at least 5,400 people - most of them civilians - have been killed in the 11-month uprising against President Bashar Assad. The estimated death toll has been disputed by some Syrian government representatives. Here is Marie's last article for The Sunday Times.
Rémi Ochlik, a 28-year-old native of eastern France, was a rising star of French photojournalism. He has covered riots in Haiti, as well as the upheavals taking place in the Arab world. One of his photographs - a picture of a Libyan opposition fighter - won first prize in the General News category of this year's 2012 World Press Photo contest.
The deaths of the two journalists have led to renewed calls from some prominent figures for the ouster of Syrian president Bashar Assad. French President Nicolas Sarkozy referred to the deaths as an assassination, and called for the end of the Assad era. "That's enough now", Sarkozy said. "This regime must go and there is no reason that Syrians don't have the right to live their lives and choose their destiny freely. If journalists were not there, the massacres would be a lot worse".
Britain's foreign secretary William Hague, meanwhile, said "Marie and Rémi died bringing us the truth about what is happening to the people of Homs", and stated that "governments around the world have the responsibility to act upon that truth - and to redouble our efforts to stop the Assad regime's despicable campaign of terror in Syria".
Many prominent journalists, writers and photographers have taken to Twitter to express their sadness at the deaths:
Marie Colvin killed in Homs. Dreadful news. A great reporter, fine writer and fearless woman is gone. Her many friends are devastated.— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) February 22, 2012
Looking out the balcony in Tripoli... same place & view last time i saw Marie here in Oct. #RIP Marie Colvin— jomana karadsheh (@JomanaCNN) February 22, 2012
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