Syria: Western Journalists Deliberately Targeted, Killed
Veteran American war reporter Marie Colvin, 56, and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik, 28, died in Homs after Syrian forces shelled their makeshift press center. Their deaths come after prominent New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid died last week of an asthma attack while heading up to Turkey from Syria. Seven media workers have died since the start of the uprising in January 2011, along with scores of Syrian activists and citizens who blogged and posted videos documenting the violence.
Wednesday also saw an intensification of fighting elsewhere in Syria alongside the killings. 74 people died nationwide as troops attacked rebel strongholds in Homs and the northwest.
The Telegraph reports that the Syrian military had intentionally set out to kill the journalists:
Before the building was attacked, Syrian army officers were allegedly intercepted by intelligence staff in neighbouring Lebanon discussing how they would claim journalists had been killed in crossfire with "terrorist groups".
French journalist Jean-Pierre Perrin saw Colvin in Homs last week and asserted that the Syrian military had killed the journalists to silence coverage of war atrocities. Again, The Telegraph reports:
Mr Perrin, who went to Beirut from Homs, said the Syrians were "fully aware" that the press centre was broadcasting direct evidence of crimes against humanity, including the murdering of women and children. He said: "The Syrian army issued orders to 'kill any journalist that set foot on Syrian soil'."
In Beirut, he was told about the intercepted radio traffic and said it was clear that Mr Assad's forces knew that there would be "no more information coming out of Homs" if they destroyed the press centre.
The deaths of Colvin and Ochlik drew widespread condemnation from France and the United Kingdom, along with responses from the White House and media figures such as Rupert Murdoch.
Syrian activists estimate that over 7,300 people have died since the uprising began.
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