SYRIA- A French photojournalist and a prominent American war correspondent working for a British newspaper were killed Wednesday by Syrian shelling of the opposition stronghold Homs as President Bashar Assad's regime escalated its attacks on rebel bases by strafing from helicopter gunships, The Associated Press (AP) reported early on Wednesday quoting activists from Syria.
AP report said that at least two other Western journalists -- French reporter Edith Bouvier of Le Figaro and British photographer Paul Conroy of the Sunday Times -- were wounded in Wednesday's shelling
One of the wounded was named as British photographer Paul Conroy, the other as Edith Bouvier of France's Le Figaro newspaper. She was said to be in serious condition, according to Reuters.
A witness contacted by Reuters from Amman said shells hit the house in the opposition-held Baba Amro district of Homs which was being used as a media centre. A rocket hit them when they tried to escape.
Colvin and Ochlik were both prize-winning veterans of wars in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere.
The British-based Colvin, who worked for the Sunday Times, lost an eye when she suffered shrapnel wound while working in Sri Lanka in 2001. In public appearances after that attack, she wore a black eye patch.
Among her awards was a Martha Gelhorn Prize in 2009 for distinguished work over many years
Ochlik was born in France in 1983 and first covered conflict in Haiti at the age of 20. Most recently he photographed the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
He won first prize for general news in this year's World Press Photo awards for a photo of a rebel fighter in Libya and ran his own agency, IP3 Press.
In Damascus, Syria`s regime said nothing till-time regarding this incident.
Syria state-run SANA news agency reported Wednesday “Russian and Italian media delegation on Wednesday visited Daraa City and interviewed a number of citizens about the situation in the city and the events which took place there.”
“The delegation toured the Justice Palace building, TV and Radio Center and some state institutions sabotaged by the armed terrorist groups, in addition to visiting Daraa National Hospital.”
In Paris, Reporters Without Borders said Bouvier working as a freelancer for Le Figaro newspaper.
Video broadcast from Homs showed the bodies among the rubble.
"We don't know if the building was deliberately targeted... we urge Syrian authorities to stop bombing Homs, said its Middle East director, Soazig Dollet.
Press reports indicated that Syrian military has intensified its attacks on Homs in the past few days, aiming to retake rebel-held neighborhoods that have become powerful symbols of resistance to President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
A referendum, set by President al-Assad for Feb. 26, has raised the question of how a nationwide vote could be held at a time when many areas see daily battles between Syrian troops and rebel soldiers. The opposition has opposed the referendum.
The United Nations said last month that violence linked to the uprising has killed more than 5,400 people. U.N. officials stopped updating the death toll in January, saying it was too difficult to obtain information. Human rights groups and activists say more than 7,000 people have been killed by Syrian security forces since the uprising began in March.
Syrian Government says at least 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed fighting "armed gangs and terrorists".
Syria has blocked access to trouble spots and prevented independent reporting, making it nearly impossible to verify accounts from either side as the conflict spirals out of control and turns increasingly violent, as press reports have been keep mentioning along their reports regarding Syria incidents.